How do you get hep C?

You can get hep C if your blood comes into contact with blood from someone infected with the hep C virus. Only small amounts of blood are needed to spread the virus.

How do you get hep C?

You can have hep C and not know it.

You can live with hep C for many years before you start feeling sick. Sometimes you just feel very, very tired.

Do you ask yourself “why do I feel so tired all of the time?” It may be nothing you can put your finger on. You may just not feel right.
Find out more about hep C and fatigue »

Other symptoms may include :

  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • muscle aches
  • jaundice

Some high risk ways you can get infected with hep C

Thousands of Kiwis have hep C but don’t know it.
Do you have any of the following risks?

Tattooing or body piercing with equipment that has not been sterilised or performed somewhere other than a licensed studio.
Find out more about hep C and tattoos »
IV Drug Use
Ever taken drugs through needles or the nose – even once?
Find out more about hep C and IV drug use »
Overseas medical treatment
Ever lived in or received health care in a high risk region?^
Find out more about hep C and medical treatment overseas »

Other high risks:

  • Received a blood transfusion prior to 1992
  • Had jaundice or abnormal liver function
  • A mother or other household member with hep C
  • Been in prison

If left untreated, chronic hep C can damage your liver. In some cases after many years, this can lead to cirrhosis (severe scarring of the liver), liver failure and sometimes liver cancer.

But treatment can cure* hep C. There are oral treatments which offer the chance of curing the virus for the majority of people living with hep C.
Talk to your healthcare professional today to get tested.


* Cure means that the hep C virus is not found in the blood 3 months after the end of treatment.

^ Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Western and Central Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Testing saves lives

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