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How Do You Get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis Videos

How Do You Get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is spread through blood or bodily fluids. Coming into contact with infected blood is the easiest way to contract the virus. It is important to remember that it can survive outside the body on patches of dry blood or on surfaces for anything between 16 hours and 4 days.

• It is most commonly spread through sharing of contaminated paraphernalia used to take drugs. It can be passed through contaminated needles, spoons, filters, straws and banknotes which are used to snort or inject substances.

• It can also be spread through unprotected sex and you should be tested if your partner has the condition.

• In recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of HIV-positive gay men who have also become infected with hepatitis c through sexual transmission.

• If you received a blood donation or blood products in the UK prior to September 1991 you should be tested. Since this date all blood donations in the UK are screened for the virus.

• It is possible to become infected with hepatitis C if you have received a blood transfusion abroad, where medical or dental equipment was not sterilised properly.

• You should be careful of sharing toothbrushes, scissors and razors as it is possible for these instruments to become contaminated with infected blood.

• You should be careful when being tattooed or pierced. Always attend a parlour which has high standards of cleanliness who use sterilised equipment.

• It is possible for hepatitis C to be passed from mother to baby.

• There is a very small risk of the virus being spread if your skin is accidentally pierced by a needle of an infected person or if contaminated blood is splashed in your eyes or mouth. This is why health workers such as nurses, doctors and lab technicians will need to take extra care.


Published July 2013

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