Are people around me now at risk?
HCV is not transmitted by most daily activities.
The main risk comes from contact with your blood so you should not sharing anything that might contain traces of blood. This includes toothbrushes, razors, hair clippers, nail scissors, tweezers and nail files.
HCV remains infectious outside of the body for much longer than HIV. This can be for days or perhaps weeks, even after blood has dried.
Are my sexual partners at risk?
The risk of sexual HCV transmission is complicated.
The risk to partners who are HIV negative is generally very low but it can occur.
The risk of sexual transmission is higher if your partner is HIV positive – with highest rates of sexual tranmission among HIV positive gay men.
HIV seems to be a risk factor, but the reasons for this are not yet understood.
Can you be infected with more than one type of HCV or HIV?
There are at least seven main types of HCV, called genotypes. Unfortunately, having one doesn’t protect you from being infected with another.
See: HCV genotype.
If you clear HCV you can still become infected again, with the same or a different genotype.
Reinfection with a different strain of HIV is more controversial. It certainly happens, but it seems uncommon.
HIV reinfection usually only has serious implications when the new virus is resistant to HIV treatment.
What about other types of hepatitis?
The word hepatitis just means inflammation of the liver.
Hepatitis can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, autoimmunity, heavy alcohol use, chemical fumes, and some medicines.
There are several different types of viral hepatitis. These were named alphabetically, in the order that they were discovered.
Before it was discovered in 1989, hepatitis C was called “non-A non-B hepatitis”.
Last updated: 17 August 2017.