Safer sex

The risk of hepatitis C transmission through sexual contact is generally low. However, it is possible to get the virus or pass it on to other people through sex if blood is present, such as blood from tiny cuts or tears during rough sex. Examples of this include fisting or prolonged sex without lubrication. Blood can also be present:

  • on sex toys
  • in lubricant taken from a shared container

The presence of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also increase transmission of hepatitis C, especially among HIV-positive gay men, bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). 

Under these circumstances, using a condom, glove or dental dam will reduce the risk of hepatitis C transmission by reducing exposure to blood. Safer-sex options—including access to external (male) and internal (female) condoms—learning how hepatitis C can be transmitted sexually and how to make safer-sex decisions and, ultimately, the autonomy to make such decisions will empower people to make informed choices that are right for them.