Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) is classified in the Hepacivirus genus in the family Flaviviridae, it is unlike most of the other members of this family due to its propensity to cause persistent infections. This persistent infection eventually results in chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in a proportion of infected individuals. It has been difficult to examine correlates of clearance or persistence because most acute phase HCV infections are subclinical or result in symptoms which are non-specific; consequently, acute infections are not generally recognised and patients often present many years later with persistent infection and accompanying chronic liver disease. Nevertheless, seminal studies, performed during the acute phase, have identified a number of factors which are likely to influence the outcome of infection, although it is possible that the mechanism is multifactorial. One of these factors is impairment of dendritic cell function by a mechanism resulting from expression of an HCV protein(s) in these cells. This may be a major factor in the failure of the immune response to expand after HCV infection, leading to persistence. Nevertheless, it may be possible to overcome this defect by autologous transfusion of HCV antigen-loaded, mature dendritic cells and the purpose of this review is to highlight the need and general approaches for developing dendritic cell-based immunotherapy for HCV infection.