Skip to content

    Hepatitis Health Center

    Font Size

    Who Is Affected by Hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. It affects about 3.2 million people in the U.S. and 170 million people worldwide.1, 2

    It is not always clear how a person becomes infected with hepatitis C. But it is estimated that:1

    • Most people who get hepatitis C have been repeatedly exposed to infected blood. People at high risk include injection drug users, people who have dialysis regularly, people with hemophilia who were treated with blood clotting factors before 1987, and people who received blood transfusions before 1992.
    • Between 10 and 20 out of 100 people who have received hemodialysis for kidney problems are infected with hepatitis C.
    • About 1 out of 100 people, such as health care workers, become infected through accidental exposure to infected blood.
    • Hepatitis C can be spread through sexual intercourse, but this happens only rarely. Hepatitis C is more likely to spread through sex among people who are also infected with HIV.


    1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2012). Hepatitis C. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 29th ed., pp. 391-395. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

    2. O'Leary JG, Davis GL (2010). Hepatitis C. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1313-1335. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerW. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology

    Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    Hepatitus C virus
    Types, symptoms and treatments.
    liver illustration
    Myths and facts about this essential organ.
    woman eating apple
    What you need to know.
    doctor and patient
    What causes it?
    Hepatitis C Treatment
    Syringes and graph illustration
    liver illustration
    passport, pills and vaccine
    Scientist looking in microscope
    Fatty Liver Disease
    Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
    Picture Of The Liver
    Image Collection