Advice on how to avoid being infected with hepatitis C, details of local sexual health clinics and confidential testing.

Around 216,000 people in England have a chronic hepatitis C infection. Over time this can lead to cirrhosis and primary liver cancer. Most of those infected are probably unaware - for every known case there may be four undiagnosed cases.

Avoiding hepatitis C

There's no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C, but the risk of transmitting infection or being infected can be minimised by avoiding contact with blood or blood products.

  • Never share injecting or other drug equipment that might have been in contact with blood;
  • use a condom if unsure of a partner's sexual history - condoms provide all-in-one protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection;
  • make sure the equipment used is sterile if considering ear or body piercing, tattoos, semi-permanent makeup or acupuncture, in this country or abroad;
  • don't share razors, toothbrushes or tweezers - these may have been in contact with blood; and
  • cover all cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters, especially on your hands.

Local support and services

If you would like to be tested, this can be done in confidence at a local sexual health clinic. GPs can also provide testing, but this will be kept on a patient's record and can sometimes affect insurance deals. Further information can be found through YorSexualHealth.

Sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics offer testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and advice and information about sexual health.

There is one booking number for GUM services in North Yorkshire, apart from Craven: 01904 721111.

If you are in the Craven area, call the numbers below and ask for a sexual health appointment.

North Yorkshire Horizons provide support for drug and alcohol addiction including viruses caught through drug use. The services can provide confidential advice and information regarding hepatitis C and other blood-borne viruses. You can call 01723 330730 or contact your local North Yorkshire Horizons hub directly.

Help and advice on hepatitis C related issues

The Hepatitis C Trust provides support, information and representation for people with hepatitis C.

Additional information from NHS Choices

See the NHS Choices page on hepatitis C for more information, including symptoms, treatment and complications.