epatitis C (also known as hep C or HCV) is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver.
Chronic hepatitis C can be serious and without appropriate treatment and care, can cause liver disease and liver cancer. Treatment, where available, can cure hepatitis C in most cases.
How do you get hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact. It is very infectious and the virus can stay alive outside the body for up to several weeks.
The infection can be spread by:
- sharing needles and syringes, particularly when injecting drugs
- medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised
- the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
- unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment
- sharing contaminated razors, toothbrushes or towels (this is rare).
The risk of hepatitis C infection is increased when you have another STI – especially one that causes sores. People with HIV are also more likely to get hepatitis C.
The virus can also be passed on from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby.
If you are experiencing any symptoms, call your doctor immediately. You can also book an appointment.