HepC Information

How is it Passed on?

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. You can get it through blood-to-blood contact with an infected person’s blood. Hepatitis C can live outside the body at room temperature on patches of dried blood for several weeks and is considered 30 times more infectious than HIV.

 

You Can Get it Through
You can become infected with hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person. Just a small trace of blood can cause an infection.

 

The Main cause of Infection is:
• Injecting Drugs

 

People who inject drugs are at high risk of becoming infected with the virus through the sharing of needles, syringes and other injecting drug equipment. Estimates suggest that 73% of people who inject drugs in Ireland have a chronic Hepatitis C infection.


Other, less common causes of infection are:
• Unprotected Sex
• Blood donations Pre 1989 (Routine testing of blood started in 1991)
• Blood transfusions or medical treatment abroad
• Sharing toothbrushes, razors and scissors
• Tattoos, body piercings and cosmetic procedures
• Mother to child
• Needlestick Injury

For further information on the above causes of infection click here…..(Link here to document)


Hepatitis C is not spread through:
There are a lot of myths about how Hepatitis C is passed on, the following provides a list of ways you can NOT catch Hep C.

 

Even after successful treatment, it is possible to reinfect yourself if exposed to infected blood. Reinfection is more common in young and former injecting drug users with problem alcohol use also being a contributing factor.

 

There is no vaccine for Hep C, so the only way to protect yourself is by using your own equipment and practising harm reduction principles.

 

How can I avoid spreading the infection to others?
You can reduce the risk of passing hepatitis C on to other people by:

 

• keeping personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors, for your own use
• cleaning and covering any cuts or grazes with a waterproof dressing
• cleaning any blood from surfaces with household bleach
• not sharing needles, syringes or other drug equipment with others
• If you are attending a recovery treatment service make sure mugs with cracks are disposed of and that personal items are for personal use only

 

The risk of spreading hepatitis C through sex is low. However, the risk is increased if there is blood present, such as menstrual blood or during anal sex. The risks are also increased when sex is rougher perhaps due to cocaine and alcohol use and when sharing sex toys with others.