What are the Causes of Hepatitis C
When the blood of a person infected with Hepatitis C (HCV) is transmitted into the blood of an uninfected person, the HCV infection spreads. The easiest ways for Hepatitis C to spread is through direct blood-to-blood contact like:
Sharing needle and other equipment to inject drugs: IDUs or Injection Drug Users who share needles, syringes etc are at a huge risk of contracting the infection.
Blood transfusion and Organ Transplant: People who have received blood transfusion or organ transplants prior to July 1992 are at risk, as it is only after this date that widespread screening of blood was initiated.
Sexual Contact with an infected person: Though low, the risk of getting infected as a result of unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person is still there. This risk is higher amongst HIV positive people and in men having sex with men (MSM). Sex with more than a trusted partner and rough sex can also lead to an increase in the risk of transmission.
From an infected mother to an unborn child: There is a six percent chance of an infected mother passing it to the child during pregnancy or delivery. This further increases when the mother is also HIV positive (almost double or triple) or has Hepatitis B or a high HCV Viral Load (the measurement of HCV in a given sample of blood). However, it is unlikely that HCV spreads through breast-feeding or breast milk.
Studies show that three of four people who have chronic HCV were born from 1945 through 1965. The CDC recommends that people born during this period should be tested to be sure.