Hep C Risk Factors

What Is The Risk Of Hep C In The Community?

Hey there Guys. Today I was sent a link to a somewhat hysterical post from the Canberra Times Newspaper. The basic crux of the story is that a 17 year old girl sat in the same seat as a man with a “contagious blood-borne virus” who had managed to bleed from a head wound. By far the two most common “contagious blood-borne viruses” to cause these levels of hysteria have to be HIV and Hep C.

HIV, Hep C, as well as Hep B are shared via blood contact. That is blood from an infected person entering another persons body via broken skin, mucous membranes or directly injected into the body from needle stick or shared injecting equipment.

The risk of casual infection is highly unlikely.

Perhaps most disturbing is the actions noted by the girls mother:

”Next thing a little ACTION bus turns up and a couple of guys with rubber gloves jump out and in a sort of panicky voice yell at her, ‘Get off the bus, it’s contagious’,”

Reporting like this simply feeds hysteria. Hep B, Hep C or HIV are not contracted via casual contact.

Between HIV and Hep C, Hep C is significantly more infectious, however without access to blood vessels, cuts or mucous membranes the risk of infection is low.

The keys to avoiding these blood-borne infections are simple. Avoid contact with blood. If splashed onto skin simply wash the skin with soap and warm water.

If you get blood splashed into your eye gently wash the eye with water or saline. You will need to keep the eye open to allow thorough cleaning.

If blood gets into your mouth spit the blood out and then rinse the mouth with water.

If you or a friend are infected with HIV, Hep B or Hep C  avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors, or any personal equipment that could be contaminated with blood. This includes anal toys as there can sometimes be microscopic trauma. Toys should be carefully cleaned with antibacterial soap in warm water.

Safe sex practices reduce the risk of transmission. If you are into fisting the use of gloves, individual pots of lube and care to avoid cross contamination of beds, bed posts, slings and sling chains helps prevent Hep C infections.

If you are unsure or concerned always consult with your sexual health doctor or GP with an interest in sexual health.

Yours in good health.

Dr George

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