Hepatitis C is a dangerous viral infection that infects the liver, eventually causing cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and cancer. Damage to the liver can also lead to the need for transplant surgery if the disease is not controlled. Although vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccination for C. There are several ways of contracting hepatitis C.
Contract the disease from blood transfusion. Hepatitis C was not discovered until the early 1990s. People who had a blood transfusion before 1992, when improved screening methods became available, are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
Contract the virus from needle use. Intravenous drug users are at a high risk of hepatitis C infection. Rarely, unclean needles from tattoo procedures or body piercing have been indicated as infection causes. This risk factor underlines the importance of always using clean needles for these procedures and never sharing needles with other users.
Acquire hepatitis from your birth mother. Hepatitis can be spread from the mother to the fetus during childbirth. This is a rare occurrence, but the chances increase if the mother is infected with the HIV virus.
Contract hepatitis C from sexual activity. Although hepatitis C is primarily spread through blood transmission, there is a slight risk of contracting the disease from sexual intercourse.