I have hepatitis C. What are the chances of my partner getting it?
Whatever the chances of transmission are, your partner should be tested. Hepatitis C sometimes takes more than 10 years before it shows symptoms. In some cases, it might be hard to recall any and all activities and incidents that might have been high risk for transmission of the hepatitis C virus. Early treatment and preventive measures, such as avoiding alcohol, may help reduce the long-term effects of hepatitis C.
Just because hepatitis C may not show symptoms for years, does not mean the disease is not doing damage. This is a chronic and as yet incurable disease that can have serious long-term repercussions. Hepatitis C can cause inflammation of the liver that can lead to permanent damage. It is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.
The virus is spread primarily through blood. One of the main modes of transmission has been the use of illegal injected drugs with shared needles. You can also catch the virus by sharing straws or other equipment used to snort cocaine. If you and your partner have ever engaged in this kind of drug use, there is a chance your partner caught the virus.
Around the house, transmission can occur through the spread of the infected person’s blood, by sharing razors, toothbrushes, manicure equipment or any other items that have picked up blood. If you have had a cut or injury that bled and your partner treated you, he or she may have been exposed to your blood that way.
It is possible, but very rare for hepatitis C to be spread by sexual intercourse between monogamous partners. Couples who have been monogamous are not advised to change their sexual practices. Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk.