It only takes a small amount of blood to transmit hep C
Hep C is contagious and is spread when infected blood from someone with the hepatitis C virus comes into contact with your blood. The hep C virus can survive outside the body for days even in tiny and unseen traces of dry blood.
Infection can occur if you’ve been tattooed or had a body piercing with contaminated equipment or ink, if you had a blood transfusion in New Zealand before 1992, or if you’ve shared needles for injecting drugs – even once. Hep C can also be transmitted in other ways.
What are the symptoms of hep C? It’s common for people not to have any symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they can be mild and vague, including extreme tiredness, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea or abdominal pain.
Use our risk factors and symptoms checklist to see if you should get tested for hep C.
Hep C can be treated
A new hep C infection does not always require treatment and some people can clear the infection within the first 6 months. If the new infection persists beyond this point, it is considered chronic and requires treatment.
With treatment, hep C can be cured*.
*Cure means that the hep C virus is not found in the blood 3 months after the end of treatment.
A healthcare professional will be able to advise if treatment is required.