There is no vaccine for hepatitis C but there are a number of ways to reduce the risk of infection.
Never share needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood, even old or dried blood can contain the virus.
Only have tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
You can also stop the spread of the virus by practising safer sex. Use condoms, especially during anal sex, rough sex or if you’re menstruating. Use dental dams and latex gloves for rimming, fingering and fisting. Knowing the status of your sexual partner is another important way to stay safe.
If you have HIV, taking your antiretroviral treatment keeps your immune system strong. This way so you’re less likely to get other infections, including hepatitis C. For more details on hepatitis C and HIV read our ‘in detail’ tab.
Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the contraceptive pill or any other type of contraception – apart from condoms – doesn’t protect you from hepatitis C and other STIs.
Having regular STI tests is one of the best ways to look after your sexual health. If you are having sex with multiple partners, it’s even more important to use condoms and get tested regularly even if you don’t have any symptoms.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C you should avoid sex until you have finished your treatment and a health care professional says it’s safe.