How Is Hep C Transmitted?

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Hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver, is transferred through blood-to-blood contact. This contact can happen in an number of different circumstances. Many times people with hep C have no symptoms, but the disease leads to serious scarring of the liver that results in cirrhosis, or even liver cancer. There is no vaccine or cure for the disease.

Methods of Transmission

Injected or inhaled drug use spreads hepatitis C. Sharing needles with someone who is infected will put drops of his blood directly into your veins, infecting you. Using a straw contaminated with the blood or mucus of an infected person to snort drugs also puts you at risk of infection.

Medical and dental equipment that has been improperly sterilized puts you at risk of getting hep C.

If you work in an environment where you're exposed to blood, you are at risk. This includes professions like firefighter, police officers, paramedics and people in the armed services.

Sexual transmission through vaginal sex is rare. The risk is higher through anal sex, fisting and use of sex toys.

Equipment used in body piercing and tattooing that has not been properly sterilized puts you at risk.

Sharing razors, toothbrushes and manicuring or pedicuring items that have been in contact with blood will spread hep C. Caution should be used when sharing any personal care items.

Women can transmit hepatitis C to their babies during childbirth.

Though now blood and organs are tested for the disease before they're used, at one time hep C was spread through organ transplants and blood transfusions.

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