The hepatitis C virus usually spreads through blood. The most common way that people get it is from injecting drugs -- especially when they share needles or syringes. The risk of getting hepatitis C through sex is low, but it is possible.
Without using condoms, the following situations increase your risk of getting hepatitis C from sex:
- If you or your partner have HIV or another sexually transmitted disease
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Have rough sex that could cause tears or fissures
- Receiving anal intercourse
- Sex while menstruating
To lower your chances of getting infected by someone who has or may have hepatitis C or infecting your partner, avoid sex acts that could cause bleeding. These include using toys, receiving anal sex, and using drugs while having sex.
Don't have sex when you or your partner has your period or has genital sores.
Always use a condom when you have sex with a new partner.
What About Kissing?
Hepatitis C and HIV
Having both makes serious, life-threatening complications -- including liver failure -- more likely.
Should You Get Tested?
The CDC recommends hepatitis C testing if you:
- Were born between 1945 and 1965
- Have used injected drugs
- Have HIV
- Were born to a mother who had hepatitis C
- Were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
- Got a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- Have been a long-term hemodialysis patient
- Work in health care or public safety and were exposed to blood through a needle stick or other sharp object injury
If you get tested and find out you have hepatitis C, tell your sex partner(s) and anyone else who may have been exposed to your blood, including through drug use.