Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, if you do not have hep C, or you have it and want to avoid passing it to others, there are steps you can take to reduce transmission risk.
- Not injecting or stopping injection drug use would eliminate the chief route of HCV transmission. If you continue injecting drugs, use new, sterile syringes and needles every time you inject. Everything that is associated with drug use is a potential source of hepatitis C, including the syringes, needles, water, the drug, the drug preparation equipment, and the surface where the drug is prepared. You can reduce your chances of acquiring or transmitting HCV by not sharing anything associated with drug use.
- Do not share any non-injection drug equipment, such as straws or pipes.
- Do not share toothbrushes or razors or any personal care items that may have come in contact with someone living with hep C.
- If you are considering a tattoo or body piercing, be sure it is done by a reputable, licensed expert who follows strict hygiene procedures and uses sterile equipment.
- While HCV transmission through sexual activity is rare, practicing safer sex using a protective barrier (e.g., condoms) can reduce the risk of transmitting HCV, along with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
- If you have hepatitis C, be sure to cover any cuts or wounds. If you get blood on a surface, a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water is an effective disinfectant.
For more information and support for people living with, and at risk for, hepatitis C, please visit our sister site Hep.
Last Reviewed: March 2, 2019