Hepatitis C (hep C) is only passed on when blood from someone who has hep C gets into the bloodstream of another person. This is called blood-to-blood contact. Hep C can be passed on by very small amounts of blood – even tiny amounts you can’t see.
You cannot tell if someone has hep C by looking at them and there are often no symptoms if you have hep C.
Approximately one in every hundred people in Australia have hep C; many might not not even know they are living with the virus and many have had it for years.
Sharing any form of injecting equipment – such as needles, syringes, swabs, spoons, tourniquets, water, filters, and hands – is the most common way to pass on the virus.
Hep C can also be passed on when the equipment used for tattooing or piercing is not sterile. This is more likely with backyard or prison tattooists and with home piercings.