- What is Hepatitis C?
- How does someone get infected with Hepatitis C?
- Who should get tested for Hepatitis C?
- How can Hepatitis C be prevented?
- What if I have Hepatitis C?
- Contact Us
Hepatitis C is an infection that affects the liver. Hepatitis C can cause a chronic condition, which can lead to chronic liver disease. It is caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is found in blood. Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The only way to prevent Hepatitis C is to avoid contact with infected blood.
Hepatitis C is spread by direct contact with human blood. For example, the following behaviors put people at risk for Hepatitis C:
- Use of needles, syringes, and other “works” used by others which may have infected blood on/in them.
- Receiving blood, blood products, or solid organs from a donor whose blood contained HCV. This is only a concern with blood or organ donation prior to July 1992.
- Received long-term kidney dialysis, since there is a risk of unknowingly sharing supplies with someone else’s blood.
- Having frequent contact with blood on the job as a healthcare worker, especially accidental needle sticks.
- During birth a mother who is infected with Hepatitis C may transmit it to her newborn baby.
- Living with someone and sharing items that may have blood on them, such as razor and toothbrushes.
If you or anyone you know has engaged in any of these behaviors, ask your health care provider whether Hepatitis C testing is right for you.
|Injecting drug users|
|Recipients of clotting factors made before 1987|
|Recipients of blood and/or solid organs before 1992|
|People with undiagnosed liver problems|
|Infants born to infected mothers|
|Healthcare/public safety workers|
|People having sex with multiple partners|
|People having sex with an infected steady partner|
*Anyone who wants to get tested should ask their doctor. HCV can be tested through a blood test done by your health care provider.
- There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C.
- Do not inject drugs; if you do inject drugs drugs, never share needles, syringes, water, or "works", and get vaccinated against Hepatitis A & B.
- Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes).
- If you are a health care or public safety worker, always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps; get vaccinated against Hepatitis B.
- Consider the risks if you are thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing. You might get infected if the tools have someone else's blood on them or if the artist or piercer does not follow proper health procedures. It is important to verify the establishment’s licensure before getting a tattoo or piercing.
- HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare. If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. You should also get vaccinated against Hepatitis B.
- If you are HCV positive, do not donate blood, organs, or tissue.
- It is important to see a health care provider on a regular basis.
- Talk to your health care provider about treatment options and ways to reduce further liver damage. Some ways you can protect your liver are to not drink alcohol, get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, and don’t start any new medicines without consulting a physician.
- Do not donate blood.
- Vermont Viral Hepatitis Prevention and Control Plan (pdf, 151KB, 19 pgs)
- Hepatitis C Information - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- The Hepatitis C Support Project (HCV Advocate)
Hepatitis C Coordinator
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street
PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05401