Risk Of Hep C

Risk of Hep C

Hepatitis C, or Hep C, is a viral infection that affects the liver. It spreads through contact with infected blood, like sharing needles, using unsterilized tattoo/piercing equipment, or pre-1992 blood transfusions. Sexual transmission is possible but less common. We'll explore Hep C risk factors and how to reduce infection risk.

Risk Factors for Hep C

Some people are at higher risk for Hep C than others. The following are the most common risk factors:

  • Injection drug use: People who inject drugs are at the highest risk for Hep C. This is because the virus can be transmitted through the sharing of needles, syringes, and other injection equipment.
  • Blood transfusions before 1992: Before 1992, blood transfusions were not screened for Hep C, so people who received a blood transfusion before this time may have been exposed to the virus.
  • Organ transplant before 1992: Like blood transfusions, organs were not screened for Hep C before 1992. People who received an organ transplant before this time may have been exposed to the virus.
  • Long-term hemodialysis: People who receive long-term hemodialysis, a treatment for kidney failure, may be at an increased risk for Hep C.
  • Having HIV: People who are infected with HIV are at an increased risk for Hep C because both viruses can be transmitted through the same behaviors, such as sharing needles.
  • Being born to a mother with Hep C: There is a small risk of mother-to-child transmission during childbirth.
  • Having unprotected sex with a person infected with Hep C: Although the risk is low, Hep C can be transmitted through sexual contact, especially if there are open sores or bleeding gums.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Hep C

While some risk factors for Hep C cannot be controlled, such as being born to a mother with the virus, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting infected:

  • Don't share needles, syringes, or any other injection equipment.
  • Use a condom during sex, especially if you or your partner has multiple sexual partners or has a history of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Be cautious when getting a tattoo or piercing. Make sure the equipment is sterilized or use a reputable facility that follows proper hygiene practices.
  • Be careful when handling sharp objects, such as razors or toothbrushes, that may be contaminated with infected blood.
  • Get vaccinated for Hep A and B, as these viruses can also cause liver damage.
  • Be aware of the potential risks of medical procedures and treatments, such as blood transfusions and organ transplants, and discuss any concerns with your doctor.


Hep C is a serious infection that can cause liver damage and other health complications. Knowing your risk factors and taking steps to reduce your risk of infection can help protect your health. If you think you may have been exposed to Hep C, it's important to get tested and seek treatment if necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions about your risk of Hep C or how to reduce your risk of infection.