Causes and Diagnoses
Causes and Diagnoses of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus. It is spread through contact with an infected person’s blood.
The virus is commonly spread through unsterilized tattoo and piercing equipment; sharing drug supplies, razors and toothbrushes; accidental needle sticks and unprotected sex with an infected partner.
Preventing the spread of hepatitis C
There are ways to minimize your risk of getting hepatitis C, including:
- Use a condom every time you have sex.
- Get tattoos and body piercings only from trusted sources.
- Don’t share needles and drug supplies.
- Don’t share toothbrushes or razors.
- Wear gloves if you have to touch someone else’s blood or wound.
Diagnosing hepatitis C
People who are at risk for developing chronic hepatitis C are encouraged to be screened for the virus with a simple blood test. If the test results are positive, your physician may order:
- Liver biopsy: A small sample of the liver tissue is removed with a needle for analysis under a microscope.
- Transient elastography: This test uses ultrasound technology to evaluate the stiffness of the liver tissue.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This uses pulsed radio frequency and magnets to create images used for screening and diagnosis.