Hepatitis C Challenge: Hep C Caring Ambassadors Program
HepC Choices

Have You Been Exposed?

  • injecting drug use and other shared drug paraphernalia

The hepatitis C virus is very easily transmitted by contact with infected blood.

  • Exposure to others' blood through shared needles or drug paraphernalia (even many years ago and even if it was only once) may be the source of hepatitis C infection.
  • blood transfusion, blood products (plasma, immune globulin, platelets, etc.) or organ transplant from infected donor, especially prior to 1992

The hepatitis C virus was first isolated in 1989, and a test to detect exposure to HCV has only been available since 1992.

Anyone who received a blood transfusion or other blood products prior to 1992 may have unknowingly been exposed to HCV and should be tested.

  • exposure to infected blood through occupation, manicures, pedicures, piercings, tattoos, sports, sharing personal care items (razors, toothbrushes, etc.)
  • unsterile medical injections or poorly sterilized medical equipment

Although most medical facilities go to great lengths to be sure all equipment is sterilized, there have been reported cases of hepatitis C traced back to the use of reused or incompletely sterilized medical equipment.

  • birth to an HCV-infected mother

The risk of transmission from a mother with hepatitis C to her baby is approximately 5-10%. The risk is higher if the mother is also infected with HIV.

The risk of transmission from mother to baby is not affected by the delivery method.

  • sex with infected partner

This is an uncommon route of transmitting the hepatitis C virus, especially among long-term monogamous couples.

The risk of sexual transmission is increased among people with multiple sexual partners, and when sexual practices result in blood-to-blood exposure.

  • combat exposure
  • incarceration 

Click on images to read hepatitis C exposure factor postcards

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Hepatitis C can show no symptoms until advanced liver damage develops.

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