Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented?
Written By: Teri Gottlieb
Unfortunately, there is not yet a vaccine to prevent HCV infection, however, you can take steps to avoid coming into contact with the virus.
- Not injecting or stopping injection drug use would eliminate the chief route of HCV transmission. If you continue injecting drugs, then be sure to use new, sterile syringes every time you inject—you should never reuse or share syringes, needles, water or drug preparation equipment.
- You should not share toothbrushes or razors with someone you know is infected with HCV.
- If you are considering a tattoo or body piercing, you should be sure that they are performed by reputable, licensed experts who follow strict hygiene procedures (e.g., sterile equipment). Be very cautious about tattoos and body piercings. If you choose to do this, look for a reputable shop. Ask questions beforehand about how the equipment is cleaned. Make sure they are using sterile needles. Also make sure that the ink that is being used on you is FRESH. Many shops will pour ink back into a larger container when they have finished with a tattoo. The HCV virus can live in the paint.
If you have HCV, please remember that your blood is contaminated.
- Let your doctors and dentist know that you have HCV so they can take proper precautions.
- Do not let anyone draw your blood or start an IV if they are not wearing gloves.
- If you get injured and you are bleeding, if it is a small injury, clean it up so no one else is exposed.
- If you are being treated by paramedics, please let them know of your HCV status.