- HCV may not make you feel sick for many years after you become infected. But HCV continues to damage the liver during this period. People who run a risk of HCV infection (see points 3, 4, and 5) should get tested for HCV.
- You can slow liver damage by avoiding alcohol and drugs that affect the liver, including some nonprescription drugs and party drugs. Your health care provider can tell you which drugs are most likely to affect the liver.
- You can avoid passing HCV to a sex partner by always using a condom during sex.
- You can avoid passing HCV to someone else by not sharing sex toys, razors, toothbrushes, dental appliances, or tattoo equipment.
- The most frequent way HCV gets spread is by sharing drug-injecting equipment. Sharing injecting equipment can also pass HIV to an injecting partner. Never share injecting equipment.
- Tell sex partners you have HCV and suggest that sex partners get tested for HCV.
- Pregnant women can pass HCV to the fetus. Pregnant women who have both HCV and HIV run a higher risk of transmitting either virus to the fetus than do women infected with only HCV or HIV.
- Pregnant women should not take the HCV drugs ribavirin and interferon. Women and men taking ribavirin should use contraceptive methods throughout ribavirin therapy and for 6 months after completing ribavirin therapy.
- Children born to HCV-infected mothers should be tested for HCV.
- Some anti-HIV drugs (antiretrovirals) may affect the liver more in people with HCV. Your health care provider will want to check your liver function regularly if you are taking anti-HIV drugs.
From U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Guide for HIV/AIDS clinical care. January 2011.
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