The hepatitis C virus, also referred to as HCV, is a blood-borne virus that over time damages the liver. HCV may remain undetected in the body for as long as 20 years. This increases the risks of transmission as many people are unaware they are infected. Sharing a spoon or straw with an infected person, particularly for drug use, is one way to catch hepatitis C.
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Infection with hepatitis C occurs through contact with infected blood. Medical workers are at risk through needle stick incidents. Unsafe tattooing practices are another source of infection. The most common method of transmission is through sharing drug paraphernalia.
Sharing Drug Paraphernalia
Intravenous drug users are at a high risk of HCV infection. Sharing spoons and syringes is a regular route of transmission. According to NAM, an HIV information organisation, it is also known that sharing straws to snort drugs is another method of catching the virus, as cocaine users may have bleeding nasal passages.
Transmission of the virus can occur at home, but is rare. Sharing razor blades, toothbrushes and other personal grooming aids can lead to infection and should be avoided. Avoid blood contact, such as cleaning wounds, if you have cuts on your hands as this is a route of infection. Sharing spoons for eating and drinking straws is not a method of transmission.
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