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Hep C often enters the body by:

  • sharing drug equipment, including needles, syringes, filters, water and cookers for injecting drugs; and pipes or straws for snorting drugs
  • sharing improperly sterilized tools for tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture and electrolysis; sharing tattoo ink and ink pots can also pass on Hep C

Hep C can also enter the body:

  • through medical procedures, including vaccinations and surgeries, that re-use equipment that was not sterilized
  • through blood transfusions if they were not screened for Hep C (Canada started screening donated blood for Hep C in 1990; in some other countries, blood wasn’t screened for Hep C until more recently)
  • by sharing personal items that might have blood on them, such as razors, nail clippers and toothbrushes
  • during rough sex among men who also have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection, especially when blood is present
  • from parent to child during pregnancy or childbirth

Most people do not have symptoms for many years. The only way to know if you have Hep C is to get tested. If you have Hep C, treatment is available.

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