American Liver Society


American Liver Society


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Viral Hepatitis C

How can coinfection with HCV be prevented?

Persons living with HIV who are not already coinfected with HCV can adopt measures to prevent acquiring HCV. Such measures will also reduce the chance of transmitting their HIV infection to others.

Not injecting or stopping injection drug use would eliminate the chief route of HCV transmission; substance-abuse treatment and relapse-prevention programs should be recommended. If patients continue to inject, they should be counseled about safer injection practices; that is, to use new, sterile syringes every time they inject drugs and never reuse or share syringes, needles, water, or drug preparation equipment.

Toothbrushes, razors, and other personal care items that might be contaminated with blood should not be shared. Although there are no data from the United States indicating that tattooing and body piercing place persons at increased risk for HCV infection, these procedures may be a source for infection with any bloodborne pathogen if proper infection control practices are not followed.

Although consistent data are lacking regarding the extent to which sexual activity contributes to HCV transmission, persons having multiple sex partners are at risk for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as for transmitting HIV to others. They should be counseled accordingly.

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