Who is at a higher risk?
If blood transfusions are not the primary transmission method, who is at a higher risk? Infection risk is very high in people who inject recreational drugs and share needles. Using nonsterile needles carries the hepatitis C virus from one drug user to another. According to recent information from the United States, one-third of patients infected with the hepatitis C virus have a drug injection history. Additionally, there is some risk of hepatitis C transmission in cocaine users.
Needle-stick injuries are the main reason why healthcare workers are also at a higher risk. They often endure occupational exposure and have a higher risk of hepatitis C and other diseases. Patient-to-patient exposure in a healthcare environment is also possible during surgery, via dialysis, or through a contaminated colonoscope.
Another via of transmission is sexual intercourse, but it is not very common in heterosexual couples. Men who have sex with other men are at a higher risk if they engage in unprotected anal sex. If they are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, the risk will still be higher.
Finally, there is a transmission risk by getting a tattoo and sharing razors. Acupuncture can be a transmission route if the needles are not properly sterilized. Breastfeeding does not increase transmission risk, and the risk of maternal-fetal transmission is no more than 5%. Saliva and other casual contacts rarely lead to an infection.