HEPATITIS literally means ‘inflammation of the liver’. This can be caused by different viruses as well as other factors. In this case the virus causing the problem is known as Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which, although associated with the liver, has also been shown to affect a number of other areas of the body. These can include the digestive system, the lymphatic system, the immune system and the brain.  As this is a blood borne virus (BBV) the risks associated with catching the virus are around contact with contaminated blood.

 

The most common risk factors are sharing injecting equipment and sharing of notes or straws to snort.  There is a smaller risk associated with unprotected sex, this is riskier if there is any blood involved (when menstruating or anal sex with any tears) and protected sex (sex with a condom) is advised to avoid the risk.

 

Tattoos and body piercing can pose a risk if the equipment used is not properly sterilised and therefore a reputable tattooist/piercer is recommended to avoid this risk.

 

Mother to baby transmission, this is estimated to be around 5% risk from an infected mother. Avoidance of breastfeeding would be advised in the case of bleeding nipples.