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 do not even know they are living with the virus and many have had it for several 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.