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Hepatitis C: Should You Get Tested?

Woman having blood drawn.

Hepatitis C is a disease that damages your liver. It can cause major health problems. You can even die from it. And you might not even know you have it. Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This virus spreads from person to person through blood. You’re at risk for hepatitis C if infected blood enters your body. Are you at risk for hepatitis C? If so, get tested.

When to get tested

Get tested if you have:

  • Shot up illegal drugs, even once

  • Shared needles, syringes, cotton, spoons, water, or other illegal drug equipment

  • Received blood or had an organ transplant before 1992

  • Received clotting factors made before 1987

  • Ever had kidney dialysis

  • Tested positive for HIV

  • Ever been in prison

Experts also recommend screening if:

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965

  • Your mother had HCV when you were born

  • You have had abnormal liver tests

  • You have had any possible blood exposure

Other possible risks

Ask your healthcare provider about getting tested if:

  • You may have had contact with infected blood at your job.

  • You’ve had sex without a condom with someone who may be infected.

  • You’ve shared personal items, such as a toothbrush or a razor, with someone who may be infected.

  • You have tattoos or body piercings.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.