What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a virus that you can get from contact with an infected person’s blood. It can be treated with a combination of drugs for six to twelve months.
What are the signs and symptoms?
At first, most people have no symptoms, but those who do can have:
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
- Liver pain
- Tea-coloured urine or clay-coloured stools
Many years later, people can experience:
- Liver disease such as cirrhosis or cancer
How is it spread?
Hepatitis C is spread:
- By sharing used needles or syringes.
- By sharing other drug-using equipment such as cookers, cotton, crack cocaine, and water pipes.
- By sharing straw, bills, or other utensils used for snorting cocaine or other drugs.
- From receiving a blood transfusion or blood products before 1992.
- Through needle-stick injuries.
- From tattooing, piercing, or acupuncture with equipment that may have been improperly sterilized.
- From sexual activity that includes contact with blood or exchange of blood.
- If a pregnant woman has Hepatitis C, she can infect her unborn baby.
- By sharing razors, toothbrushes, tweezers, manicure, or pedicure equipment such as nail clippers.
Here are some ways to prevent Hepatitis C:
- Do not share needles or other drug equipment.
- Do not share personal items such as razors, toothbrushes, or nail clippers.
- Wear protective gloves if you’re likely to be in contact with someone’s blood.
- Use condoms and avoid blood-to-blood contact every time you have sex.
- If you’re getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the place has been inspected and they’re using single-use sterile needles and ink.
Where can I be tested?
- Sexual Health Clinic
- Family doctor
- Walk-in clinic