The purpose of this section is to raise public health awareness around the risks of hepatitis C transmission. It provides information on ways to reduce harm for drug users and to prevent the transmission of Hep C. You can learn the steps to take to keep you and others safe from the spread of Hep C and other infections.
QUICK FACTS ON HEP C PREVENTION
- The Hep C virus is carried in blood and can live outside the body for many days. You can get Hep C from sharing anything with blood on it, even if you can’t see the blood. Sharing means borrowing, reusing or buying someone else’s stuff.
- Think of things like:
- used needles, pipes, straws, cookers, filters, ties, or water for drug use.
- piercing or tattooing equipment (including ink) already used by someone else.
- razors, nail clippers or toothbrushes used by someone else.
- If you share drug-use equipment, you could give Hep C to someone else. Sharing means passing on, selling, giving or lending any of your stuff.
- You could also get infected with a different type of Hep C or another disease like HIV.
- You can get Hep C more than once. You are not immune, even if you got rid of the virus before. You can get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B but there’s no vaccine for Hep C.
- It’s okay to kiss and hug family and friends, but remember:
- Not just new needles—use new cookers, filters, ties, acidifiers, swabs and water every time as well.
- Use new supplies for piercings every time. Ask your needle exchange program if they give them out.
- Tattooing is safest in a professional studio with a sterilizer, sterile equipment and needles and new ink. If you’re in prison or doing it yourself, have your own tattoo gun (and ink) and don’t share.
- Have your own razors, toothbrushes and anything else that might get blood on it.
- Use a condom or dental dam for sex every time to be extra safe.