Viral hepatitis, such as hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis A (HAV), is diagnosed by your symptoms, a physical exam, blood tests, imaging studies such as a sonogram or CAT scan, and sometimes a liver biopsy.
The hepatitis C virus usually spreads through blood. The most common way that people get hepatitis C is through injection drug use, including sharing needles or syringes -- not through sex. But it's possible to get hepatitis C through sex.
You're more likely to get hepatitis C through sex if you or your partner have HIV or another sexually transmitted disease, have rough sex, or have more than one sex partner.
To lower your chances of getting hepatitis C through sex, avoid sex acts that could...
Other people who should consider getting tested for hepatitis C virus include:
Children born to HCV-positive mothers (check only after 18 months of age to avoid a false positive result)
Household members of an infected person if toothbrushes, razors, or other objects that may transmit HCV have been shared
Hospital and other health care facility workers after a needle stick or exposure to the blood of a person with HCV
Public safety and emergency medical workers after a needle stick or exposure to the blood of a person with HCV
People who have had a tattoo or a body part pierced with non-disposable needles and ink
The sex partner of an HCV-positive person, if traumatic sex or bleeding due to breaks in the skin or other reasons (such as prostatitis -- an inflammation of the prostate gland with occasional bleeding) may have occurred. HCV is generally not transmitted through sexual contact.
The following people who are at increased risk for contracting hepatitis B virus include:
People who received a blood or a blood-product transfusion prior to 1972
Hospital and health care workers
Household members of an infected person
Intravenous drugs users (both present and former users)
People who have had a tattoo or a body part pierced with an infected needle
Sex partners of infected people
Travelers to countries where HBV is endemic
People who were born to a mother infected with HBV
Transplant-organ recipients who received an infected organ