About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus most commonly transmitted through sharing or inadequate sterilization of needles and equipment, and unsafe sexual practices.

Some individuals infected with Hepatitis C may experience symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Light coloured stool

To reduce your risk of sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections:

  • Engage in regular testing with your health care provider if you participate in activities that include risk of spreading sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections;
  • Use barrier protection during sexual activity (e.g. condom or dental dam);
  • Avoid sharing personal hygiene items (e.g. razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers);
  • Ensure facilities you use for services like tattooing, body piercing and manicure/ pedicures follow proper sterilization procedures; and that the facility is registered by contacting Service NL;
  • If you engage in drug use, clean skin avoid sharing and use new equipment every time you inject, smoke or nasally ingest.

Early diagnosis can prevent health complications resulting from infection and the transmission of bloodborne viruses to close contacts. Testing can be conducted by your local health care provider.

Anyone who has shared needles and/or injection equipment with other people (especially for drug use) should be tested for Hepatitis C. Other people who should get tested for Hepatitis C include hemophiliacs, people who have had renal dialysis, sexual partners of people diagnosed with Hepatitis C, babies born to mothers who tested positive for Hepatitis C, and people who may have received blood transfusion(s) in Canada prior to 1990. 

If you test positive for Hepatitis C, your doctor may recommend other tests will likely require regular check-ups. Few people can clear the virus from their blood, but most people will continue to test positive unless treated.

Treatment cures approximately 95 percent of people with Hepatitis C, typically within several months. While Hepatitis C can affect the liver, many people will remain healthy throughout their lifetime with a healthy lifestyle.