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Workplace exposure: could I have been infected?

I work in construction and we have been metal framing and getting cut a lot on our fingers and hands. My partner has hepatitis C and I didn't know for about a month. We have been sharing drills and tools while both of us have cuts on our hands. What are the chances I could get infected this way (cut to cut) or his blood on the drill when I grab it. If he has a fresh active bleeding cut and uses the drill or a hammer and then I immediately grab it with a cut on my hand in the same area, couldn't the infected wet blood get in my cut? Just trying to figure out what my chances of infection are. I was exposed about 6 weeks ago and I was tested (results were negative at 6 weeks).

  1. This is a good question. My best answer is yes, I guess Hep C can be transmitted that way. It would be in the "very rare" category.

    You're super smart to test for Hep early. I would wait a bit and get another test in a few months. In the meantime, don't let it stress you too much because there IS a cure now.

    Most of the time, the type of exposure you're talking about is similar to sharing personal items, or health care workers who are exposed to blood that is infected.

    By the way - is your construction buddy getting treatment any time soon? The meds are easy to get and work fast.

    Keep us posted,
    Karen

    1. He has had it for years(found out because of jaundice). He has never had health insurance and for whatever reason never went to treat it. If in the off chance I was positive, how easy would it be to treat it asap? I have BCBS but I'm worried that they wouldn't cover me because I would have no liver damage at all and I would be healthy. Would I be able to treat it almost immediately after a positive test if my body didnt clear it?

      1. Hi again!
        If your partner is wanting to get treatment there are many avenues for uninsured to get access to care and treatment. You can only ask him. He could call (so could you) help4hep at 877-435-7443. The folks there will be glad to navigate him to care.
        As far as you qualifying for treatment so early, it depends on what state you live in. It shouldn’t but it does.... grrr! There are also ways around that. So IF, you find you are positive, please don’t be disheartened. I suggest you give a call to above number if you need direction. The call and help are confidential and free.
        Again, it’s never an emergency to treat new Hep C but in my opinion no one should have to wait.
        Staying hopeful that you remain negative! Stay connected ok? Randy, Community Moderator

      2. We are in upstate New York. BCBS insurance

    2. G’morning and thanks for the question. I agree with Karen that you should get another antibody test in a month or so. The CDC reccomends testing at 8-12 weeks and (if negative) then again at 6 months. Being non reactive at 6 weeks is good and yet it’s generally not a long enough testing window from exposure.
      It sounds like there is a lot of blood around which could be a perfect storm for transmission. I’m hopeful that you’re absolutely fine, and while it’s true there are excellent drugs to cure, it’s certainly better not to contract Hep C at all. If it were me (I had HepatitisC for almost 40 years) I’d surely use caution going forward. That just makes good sense right? It’s also a great moment to encourage your partner to get treatment as it’s easily curable and for his/her benefit of future health.
      So, do try not to worry, use caution and do get another antibody test ok? Wishing you negative results in a positive way my friend!
      With care,
      Randy, Community Moderator

      1. With having it that long did you end up with any serious liver issues? Also thanks for the response! I will be testing two more times I just have to be patient and wait for the window period

    3. Hey!
      I actually did progress to cirrhosis. I treated 6 years ago and since that time my liver has regenerated beautiful new tissue (amazing) and is working well 😀 thank you so much for asking!
      With care, Randy, Community Moderator

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