Hepatitis C is transmitted primarily by exposure to blood containing the hepatitis C virus. Transmission rarely occurs from exposure to other infected body fluids, such as semen.
If you're in a long-term, monogamous relationship with a partner who has hepatitis C, your risk of contracting hepatitis C is thought to be low, unless you also have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). For these monogamous couples, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn't recommend routine condom use to prevent transmission. But couples should avoid sharing razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers or having intercourse during menstruation.
Your risk of contracting hepatitis C increases significantly if you have HIV. The risk of transmission is higher if you have multiple short-term sexual relationships with partners who have hepatitis C. Under these circumstances, the CDC recommends routine condom use to reduce your risk of transmission.
If you're concerned about hepatitis C, talk to your doctor. Hepatitis C can be diagnosed by a blood test. Treatment may include medications to help clear the virus from the bloodstream and ultimately cure you of hepatitis C.
Nov. 27, 2014
- Hepatitis C FAQs for health professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/HCVfaq.htm. Accessed Sept. 28, 2014.
- HCV testing and linkage to care: An update. Alexandria, Va.: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. http://www.hcvguidelines.org/printpdf/12. Accessed Sept. 28, 2014.
- Hepatitis C: Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/hepc.htm. Accessed Sept. 28, 2014.