My parents told me I needed to get tested for hepatitis C because I used IV drugs in the past and have some home piercings and tattoos. What is it exactly?
Hepatitis C is a contagious infection that affects your liver that can cause liver cancer or liver failure if it’s not treated. Hepatitis C is spread mostly through contact with infected blood by sharing needles and “works” used for injecting drugs. Hepatitis C is also spread through non-sterile tattooing needles and ink, or body piercing needles. Sometimes hepatitis C passes from an infected mom to her baby during childbirth. Symptoms might include mild fatigue, fever, nausea, and dark urine.
To get tested check out https://gettested.cdc.gov/ to find a testing center near you. The hepatitis C test is a simple blood test. Ask your doctor or nurse for an HIV test as well.
Hepatitis C treatment includes antiviral medications that are used to clear the body of the virus. The medicines can be 90% effective at curing hepatitis C! So make sure you get tested!
You can prevent getting hepatitis C by using a condom every time you have sex, using clean and sterile needles, and by not sharing them with anyone.
For more information, check out:
- www.HIV.gov and search hepatitis C
- Or look at IHS’s new hepatitis C website at and search for ‘health topics’ and click on ‘hepatitis C’: https://www.ihs.gov/forpatients/healthtopics/hepatitisc/
Thanks for looking after yourself.