What Do You Know About Hepatitis C
- What Do You Know About Hepatitis C is available in Portable Document Format (PDF, 3.1MB, 2pg.)
In the United States, almost 3 million people have hepatitis C.
If you are one of them, here's what you need to know:
- Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
- Hepatitis C can be serious. About 15 out of every 100 people with hepatitis C get serious liver disease.
- Most people with hepatitis C do not look or feel sick. They may have no symptoms for 20 or more years. Only a blood test can tell you if you have hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood.
- Here are some ways people get hepatitis C:
- sharing needles or works to inject drugs.
- needle-stick injuries to health care workers on the job.
- from mother to baby during birth.
- sex without using a condom. This is rare, but it does happen.
In the past, some people got hepatitis C from blood transfusions. Now, all blood is tested for hepatitis C, so blood transfusions are safe from hepatitis C.
There is a treatment for hepatitis C, but it does not work for everyone. Talk to your doctor or nurse to find out if treatment is a good choice for you.
You can help keep your liver healthy:
Get hepatitis A and hepatitis B shots. You can get these shots from most doctors and clinics.
Quit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can make hepatitis much worse. If you can't quit, try to cut down.
To prevent hepatitis C:
1) If you shoot drugs, use a new syringe every time you shoot up.
Through ESAP (Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Program), anyone 18 or older can buy up to 10 new syringes without a prescription at many drugstores in New York State. You can also trade in old syringes for new ones at a needle exchange. Call 1-800-541-AIDS to find a drugstore that sells syringes or a needle exchange.
2) Never share anything you use to shoot up. This includes:
3) Wash your hands before and after helping another person shoot up.
Use soap and water or a disposable wet-wipe.
To find out more about hepatitis C:
- CDC Hepatitis Hotline: 1-888-4-HEP-CDC
... about HIV and AIDS
- 1-800-541-AIDS (English)
- 1-800-233-SIDA (Spanish)
- 1-800-369-AIDS (Deaf/TDD)
You can ask anything, and you do not need to give your name. You can also find out how to get tested for HIV free, without giving your name. At some places, you can get your results right away.
... about quitting alcohol & drugs
- 1-877-8HOPENY (1-877-846-7369 - New York State Office of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Monday-Friday, 9am - 5pm
- 1-800-LIFENET - New York City only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
State of New York, Department of Health, 9411, 11/04