Is Hepatitis C Contagious?

Many people wonder, "Is hepatitis C contagious?" Yes, hepatitis C is contagious -- it is most often spread through contact with blood or blood products that have been infected with the hepatitis C virus. While hepatitis C is contagious and can be spread through contact with infected blood, you cannot get hepatitis C from a kiss or from other normal everyday activities such as hugging, shaking hands, or even sharing eating utensils.

Is Hepatitis C Contagious? -- An Overview

Hepatitis C is contagious. The most common cause of hepatitis C transmission is through contact with blood infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This can be the result of:
 
  • Working in a laboratory or a dialysis unit
  • Infected needles used for tattoos or body piercing
  • Sharing drug needles.
     
In very few cases, people have been infected with hepatitis C by sharing objects that may have a very tiny amount of blood on them, such as a toothbrush, razor, or tools used for manicures.
 
You cannot get hepatitis C from a kiss or from other normal everyday activities such as hugging, shaking hands, or even sharing eating utensils.
 
People often wonder, "Is hepatitis C sexually transmitted?" Hepatitis C can also be spread by sexual intercourse, but this is rare. For steady sexual partners, there are not any recommendations about changing your sexual practices just because you or your partner has hepatitis C. But having more than one sex partner does increase your chance of getting the virus.
 
If you want to lower the small chance of spreading HCV to your sex partner, especially those with multiple sex partners, you may decide to use barrier precautions such as latex condoms. The effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing hepatitis C transmission is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission. Ask your doctor about having your sex partner tested for hepatitis C.
 
There is no evidence to show that hepatitis C is spread from the mother to baby during pregnancy or breast-feeding. There is also no evidence that contracting hepatitis C is possible through oral sex.
 

Hepatitis C-Overview

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