Hep C - why you should know more

25th April, 2017   |    By taschard   |    3 min read

Why should you care about hepatitis C? Here’s hoping you never have to, but just in case, here are a couple of things you should know.

First up – there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Unlike hepatitis A & B it has not yet been possible to develop a vaccine for hepatitis C. At present the only protection is prevention. About a quarter of people who contract the virus will get better without medical intervention but the rest will be left with a chronic infection.  Not good odds.

Hepatitis C is transmitted when infected blood is passed from one person to another. The majority of infections occurring in Australia are from sharing injecting equipment with someone who has the virus. People who are new to injecting can be at risk if they don’t have their own equipment or are injected by someone else. Injecting drugs has many risk factors, hepatitis C is just one.

A significant number of Tasmania’s reported contracting hepatitis C after a tattooing. The safest tattoos and piercings are done by registered businesses that display their registration and are not afraid to discuss infection control practices.  Where did you get that tattoo done? Was that piercing done by a registered professional?

Still thinking it doesn’t affect YOU? What about your friends and family? There maybe someone you know living with the virus now. Fear of stigma and discrimination often gets in the way of people being able to tell. Having the correct information is a good way to reduce the fear behind discrimination and this can make a huge a difference to someone’s life.

Here is Emma’s story

Emma is in her 30’s and lives in Tasmania. Her current priorities are her young family and her career. Emma recently travelled overseas and was inspired by her experiences. She would very much like to travel again, perhaps while volunteering. Emma has been living with hepatitis C for over a year. She knew about hepatitis C from an older person she shared a house with. She was aware of the risks when she began injecting drugs in her 20’s, something she no longer does. At the time, Emma trusted the person she was using with. She trusted that they knew what they were doing and would keep her safe. That was not the case.

Many of Emma’s family members work in community services and she says that their non judgmental attitudes have meant that she is comfortable with their support. She has experienced some discrimination and is careful who she discloses to. Emma has said that even though she “tries not to live with any fear” she is aware that her professional reputation may be harmed by people’s assumptions, if they knew she was living with hepatitis C.

Emma is currently waiting to start treatment. She says that she “would like to move away from that part of my life” but that “You can’t just shut the door on Hep C, something from the past will follow you into the future.”

For more information about hepatitis C visit Use the online forum to share your story.  Your experience could help others. Living with hepatitis C is often isolating. Reading about others in similar situations can reduce that isolation.  You can do it anonymously.

Also check the related topics:  

Types of STI’s

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