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Risk of HCV Transmission

One of the most common questions I hear from people, and mostly younger people, is about how can I get it, or less frequently how I can pass along the virus to others.

There are a lot of myths that persist in a world where the general population knows little about hepatitis c. I won’t recount all of the questions I have heard, and there are far too many to list, but far and away most are about sexual transmission. This is more common in younger people in my experience and their questions are frank and open, which is refreshing to me given the need for people to ask questions that are going to help them in understanding better the risks, and ultimately affecting their own practice. Another common question I hear is from healthcare providers and needle sticks rank number one in this group. If you think you have been exposed you need to talk to your Dr. about testing.

Information is only good if it has a practical use when it comes to this subject.

There have been changes over the years in what we believe to be fact, and this is totally understandable considering how science does not stand still. As I am fond of saying is that what we believe is true today will surely be proven wrong tomorrow, but there are some things we can do to reduce risk.

These have been labelled as harm reduction by some and often this term is often associated with drug use and the prevention of transmission but does speak to all risks.

As I have discussed before and I am sure you have read it elsewhere or experienced it yourself, there is stigma around HCV. Not at issue for me when it comes to prevention practices. It is simply about preventing the spread of the virus, and when people choose to judge others it just fogs the issue.

Whether you use drugs in a way that may transmit the virus or you practice unsafe sex with multiple partners you need to seriously consider taking steps to prevent yourself and others from acquiring HCV, and HIV, and of course Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s).

Do not share needles, or crack pipes or straws for snorting, and wear a condom unless you are in a stable long-term committed relationship.

Anal sex or rough sex increases your risks.

I would suggest that you be very sure about where you are getting that tattoo.

These are basic ways you can prevent transmission and the link below will take you to the CDC site where you can learn more.

Another area that is not on the radar much is nail salons and spas. If you must go, take your own tools. There has been an explosion of nail salons in recent years and some may be safe while many are not. All it takes is a small cut-a little blood from someone else to you or from you to someone else.

It is not just about how we can get it but how me might give it to others.

If you know you have Chronic Hepatitis C you too have responsibilities to others whom you might transmit to.

Responsible practices are key and although HCV is not easily transmitted through normal day-to-day activities we still need to be aware and care.

See CDC Guidelines

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.