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Transmission of Hepatitis C

If hepatitis C virus is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to serious health problems, including liver cancer and cirrhosis (liver disease). However, hepatitis C is curable with medication, so it is important that Iowans get tested and diagnosed.

It is common for someone with hepatitis C virus to have no obvious signs or symptoms (asymptomatic). This means that someone can have HCV and not know it, leading them to unknowingly infect and put others at risk for long-term health problems. The only way to know whether someone has HCV is to be tested.

People can get HCV during activities such as:

  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
  • Receiving needle sticks in health care settings
  • Being born to a mother who has HCV
  • Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as “works” or other drug paraphernalia, unsterilized tattoo equipment, razors, or toothbrushes
  • Having sexual contact with a person who has HCV. The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that at risk populations ask their primary healthcare provider for a simple blood test to be screened for HCV

The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that at risk populations ask their primary healthcare provider for a simple blood test to be screened for HCV.