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Is It Dangerous to Visit Someone with Hepatitis C?

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Updated September 30, 2009

Is It Dangerous to Visit Someone with Hepatitis C?

Talking with someone who has hepatitis C is very safe and won't spread the infection.

Andrew C./stock.xchng
Generally, it's safe to visit someone with hepatitis C, depending on what you mean by "visiting someone." The hepatitis C virus spreads by getting the blood of someone who is infected with the virus into your body, so just visiting someone and spending a little time with them isn't a high-risk way to be exposed. For most people, the activities associated with visiting someone (spending some time together, talking, hugging, holding and shaking hands) won't spread hepatitis C. Kissing, in general, is considered to be low-risk and isn't an effective way to spread the virus, but there may be forms of kissing that increase your risk of exposure. Likewise, sexual contact can spread hepatitis C, but this isn't common.

When Visiting Becomes Higher-Risk

If you already have liver disease from a cause other than hepatitis C, you should be especially careful to follow these prevention strategies if you're visiting someone with the hepatitis C.

There is also a small risk of getting hepatitis C if you live with someone who is infected. This is because you have more opportunities to come into direct contact with something contaminated with the hepatitis C virus. For example, sharing razors, nail clippers, or toothbrushes can, in theory, spread the virus. However, spreading of hepatitis C through these means is very unusual.

Prevention Controls Spread

The best way to prevent spreading hepatitis C is to follow effective prevention strategies. Vaccination isn't an option for hepatitis C, but there are other ways to lower your risk of exposure to the virus.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/cFAQ.htm#transmission. Accessed September 20, 2009.

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