Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection. It can inflame and damage the liver.

Hepatitis C is usually transmitted through contact with infected blood. It can be spread through:

  • Shared needles during intravenous drug use

  • Shared devices used to snort cocaine

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse (this is uncommon)

  • Accidental stick with a contaminated needle

  • Blood transfusions (rare because of improved screening techniques since 1992)

  • Renal dialysis

  • Childbirth, from mother to child during delivery

  • Contaminated tattoo or body piercing equipment

The hepatitis C virus can cause short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) hepatitis C. Most people with acute hepatitis C eventually develop chronic hepatitis C.

Most people with hepatitis C don't know that they are infected. That's because hepatitis C usually does not cause symptoms.

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