How Can Hepatitis C Be Contracted?

At one time, before 1990, the most common way that Hepatitis C was spread to others was believed to be by tainted blood used in transfusions. But then the medical community found a way to test blood for the HCV infection and this risk as all but been eliminated as a cause of this very infectious disease. Before this testing began the risk of contracting Hepatitis C from tainted blood was one in two hundred.  The first tests, which began in 1990, were not great, giving off many false positives.  Within two years new improved tests, more sensitive to what was being looked for lowered the odds of getting infected blood to one in one hundred thousand.

Unfortunately there are many other ways that Hepatitis C can be passed from one infected person to another. Those in the community who are drug users are probably among the highest risk group. The sharing of any appliance or equipment used in taking drugs is one of the easiest methods of transferring this disease. That includes sharing needles or any other piece of equipment that may have blood or body fluids on it.   

Receiving an organ for transplant from someone who had the Hepatitis C virus, HCV, can give the recipient hepatitis.  Someone who is a hemophiliac or has chronic kidney failure is in the high-risk category because they are constantly exposed to blood products to keep them alive.  Health care workers must be very cautious when doing their jobs because they are in a potentially high-risk profession. A simple mistake, like pricking their finger with a needle that has blood on it from someone with the hepatitis C virus, can infect them.

For all those people who want to express themselves by getting a tattoo or a piercing you could also be at risk. Make sure that the place you go follows some basic hygiene practices. Those must include using only sterile needles when doing their job. Don't allow them to take a needle out of a drawer and begin unless the needle is in an unopened package and so will be used only for you. Otherwise, truthfully, you have no idea what diseases you could be at risk for. The tiniest bit of blood on a used needle could be all that is needed to change your life by giving you hepatitis, or even something worse. If they don't use sterile needles find somewhere that does.

Other potential risks come from sharing anything that could have blood on it. This includes a toothbrush or a razor belonging to an infected person. 

If your partner has HCV and you both remain as a monogamous couple your chance of contracting it are low, at about five percent. But if someone has multiple sexual partners, and does not practice safe sex by using condoms, they slip into the high-risk category. The unnerving part of this disease is that in about ten percent of all cases there is no obvious means of having caught the infection.

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