A brief history of viral hepatitis
Several different viruses can cause hepatitis. The most common are hepatitis A, B and C. These viruses pass from person to person through different means, cause damage to the liver in different ways and have different effects on your health.
Read Hepatitis C related articles:
Prevention is better than cure. If you do not have one of the viruses that cause hepatitis then there are ways you can minimise the risk of contracting one. If you do have one of them then you may want to reduce the risk to those around you. Some of this section may apply to you. Please use it as a reference.
Theoretically, there is a risk of passing hepatitis C if the mother has cracked and bleeding nipples. However, breastfeeding is generally considered safe, as long as the mother does not have cracked and bleeding nipples and/or there is no evidence of co-infection with HIV. If you are hepatitis C positive you should discuss what will be best for you with your doctor and midwife.
Injecting drug use and Hepatitis
Even spots of blood too small to be seen by the human eye can carry enough of a virus to infect someone. Using syringes and any other part of the injecting equipment, including needle, spoon, filter and water that have previously been used by someone else can easily lead to infection with hepatitis or HIV.
It is considered low risk for Hepatitis C to pass from an infected woman to her baby during childbirth, an average of a 6% risk that the baby could contract infection during pregnancy delivery. It is important to remember that it may not be possible to be certain whether your child has the virus until he or she is about one year old.
NHS Lanarkshire Harm Reduction Team
Provide information and testing on all blood borne viruses and provide access to and disposal of sterile injecting equipment. For further information contact:
The Harm Reduction Team on 01236 441067
South Outreach Team on 07884 454 961
North Outreach Team on 07810 153 940
NHS Lanarkshire Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
Provides sexual health services and information and testing for Hepatitis and other blood borne viruses. For more information about local sexual health services go to the Services section of this site or call our appointment line on 0845 618 7191 (Line open Monday to Fridayy 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.)
GP/Primary Care Services
If you think you have been at risk ask your GP or Practice Nurse about testing for Hepatitis C and other blood borne viruses. For information on GP services in Lanarkshire go to:
For information on Hepatitis Testing Services in other parts of Scotland go to:
What will happen after my diagnosis?
After your diagnosis, your doctor should offer you a series of tests to check your health. These may not happen all in one go, but will be done over the next few appointments.