Who is at risk?

Who is at risk of having hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact. Approximately 50% of people living with chronic hepatitis C are unaware they have it.

Those most at risk of hepatitis C are people who:

  • Have injected drugs (even if only once)
  • Have received a tattoo or body piercing using unsterile equipment
  • Lived or received medical attention in a high-risk country (South East Asia, China, Eastern Europe (including Russia), or the Middle East). Click here for a list of countries that have a lot of hepatitis C.
  • Had a blood transfusion or received blood products prior to 1992
  • Have ever been in prison
  • Were born to a mother living with hepatitis C.

You may also be at a higher risk of having hepatitis C if you have had unprotected male-to-male sex. Please note, living or receiving medical attention in any country where medical equipment is not sterilised properly can put you at risk.

Testing is very important as the virus often begins damaging the liver before any symptoms appear. With an early diagnosis and appropriate course of treatment, hepatitis C can often be successfully treated and cured.

Contact your GP about getting tested.

High-risk countries – 80% of hepatitis C infections happen in the countries below:

  • China
  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Egypt
  • Russia
  • USA
  • Nigeria
  • Brazil
  • DR Congo
  • Ukraine
  • Bangladesh
  • Uzbekistan
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Ethiopia
  • Phillipines
  • Syria
  • Romania
  • Mexico
  • Angola
  • Kazakhstan
  • Turkey
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Columbia
  • Ghana
  • Algeria
  • Spain





© The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 2016