Early detection is key to effective treatment of hepatitis C. That is why it’s so important to identify people who may be at risk for the disease.
To help you assess your own risk, take our interactive Risk Assessment.
If you suspect that you have hepatitis or think you have been in contact with an infected person or a contaminated object, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Are You at Risk?
People who are at risk of being infected with hepatitis B or C include healthcare workers, people with multiple sex partners, intravenous drug users, and hemophiliacs. Anyone who has had a tattoo, body piercing, or a blood transfusion (prior to 1975 for hepatitis B and 1992 for hepatitis C) and those who are in close household contact with an infected person are also at higher risk of being infected. Hepatitis B or C can even be transmitted by sharing toothbrushes or nail files contaminated with infected blood, although these forms of transmission rarely occur.
Infants born to mothers infected with hepatitis B can contract the virus in up to 90% of cases. However, hepatitis C is only rarely spread from mother to baby at the time of delivery.
Approximately one-third or more of hepatitis A, B, and C cases result from unknown sources. This means that you do not necessarily have to be among the “high-risk” groups to become infected with these viruses.
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The good news is that hepatitis can be avoided. You should always practice safe sex and never share objects such as needles, razors, toothbrushes, nail files, and clippers. When getting a manicure, tattoo, or body piercing, make sure sterile instruments are used. Those who are exposed to blood in their work, such as healthcare workers, laboratory technicians, dentists, surgeons, nurses, emergency service workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, military personnel, or those who live with an infected individual, should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. You should also consider being vaccinated for hepatitis A if you work at a daycare center, come into close contact with someone who is infected, travel to geographic areas that have poor sanitation, or live in an area where there has been a recent outbreak of hepatitis A.
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