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FAQ: If you have hepatitis C, can you have sex without infecting your partner?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If you have hepatitis C, can you have sex without infecting your partner?

Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted by blood. The most common ways people become infected with hepatitis C are through needle sharing, such as during injection drug use, or from blood transfusions received before 1992.

Becoming infected from sex is not common, but it does happen. If you have hepatitis C, the chance of infecting a sex partner is higher if you are with a new partner or if you have had many different partners over time. If you have hepatitis C, the chance of infecting a sex partner is lower if you are with a longtime stable partner and if you are in a monogamous relationship.

If your sex partner is new to you, or if you have many different partners, it is safer if you use condoms during sex to reduce the chance of transmitting hepatitis C.

It is always best to talk directly with your health care provider to assess whether you should start using condoms. If you are in a sexual relationship and either you or your partner has hepatitis C, the other partner should be tested for hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted viruses once a year, or as advised by your provider.