Get Tested for Hepatitis C!
Learn more about the new hepatitis C testing law for individuals born between 1945 and 1965 in New York State (PDF).
Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that infects and can damage the liver. It is passed from one person to another when the blood of an HCV infected person gets into another person’s blood stream through openings in the skin (punctures, tears, cuts, sores). Hepatitis C can live outside of the body for several days.
Hepatitis C can become a chronic or lifelong infection and increases the risk for liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. You are never immune to Hepatitis C.
How do you get Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is passed from one person to another through blood, for instance when the blood of someone who has Hepatitis C gets into your blood-stream through punctures, cuts, sores, tears or tiny holes in the skin. Sharing needles or other drug supplies is one of the most common ways this happens. Cleaning syringes or other items that may have blood on them may not kill the HCV and protect you. The only way to ensure you are not exposed is to use new sterile equipment all of the time.
Hepatitis C: the Facts
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► See Health Bulletin #37: Get Tested for Hepatitis C
How do you prevent Hepatitis C?
There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C and you can not become immune to Hepatitis C. Since Hepatitis C can live outside of the body for at least 7 days (such as in a syringe, tattoo ink well, or razor), it is a good idea to take some precautions such as avoiding contact with blood.
- Don't share needles, syringes, cotton, rinse water, cookers, spoons, straws or pipes or any other drug use supplies. You can get clean needles at many locations in NYC.
- Don't share or reuse medical supplies (diabetic needles, finger stick devices, etc.)
- Safer sex: avoid sexual activity that involves the possibility of blood exposure and use condoms. You can get free NYC condoms at various locations.
- Do not share personal items (razors, clippers, toothbrushes, etc.) that could have blood on them.
- Clean blood spills immediately with 1 part bleach and 10 parts water.