Protect Yourself from Hep C

Transitioning from taking pills to snorting or injecting can lead to Hep C infection.

Most people get Hep C by sharing drug-use equipment.
(Needles, syringes, spoons, bottle caps, cotton, ties, rinse water or straws)

Hepatitis C is caused by a virus that lives in the blood.

Hep C is serious. It can cause:

  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Cirrhosis (severe liver damage)
  • Liver failure
  • Liver cancer
  • Death

You can get Hep C when the blood of an infected person gets into your blood stream.

The Hep C virus can live outside of the body for up to three weeks!

Learn more about how Hep C spreads through blood-to-blood contact (PDF).
Other languages:[Español]

Protect yourself.

  • Get help for pill addiction as early as you can. See the resources below.
  • If you snort or inject drugs, only use new, sterile drug-use equipment:
    needles, syringes, cotton, cups, ties, razors, cutters, rinse water, cookers, straws or pipes.
  • Reduce your Risk of Overdose, Hep C & HIV (PDF)
    Other languages: [Español] [Русский]

Get new equipment from a syringe exchange program or pharmacy.

  • If you don’t have brand-new, sterile supplies only reuse equipment if no one other than you has ever used it.
  • If you are using drugs with other people, mark your equipment so that you can easily know if it is yours and can keep track of it.

Get free and confidential help without judgment.

New York City has many programs that can help you learn to use drugs more safely, offer strategies and support for managing your use, and help you prevent Hep C without reporting you to the police or your parents.
Some programs offer anonymous services.

For referrals to counseling or for help with addictions: Visit NYC Well.

Syringe Exchange Programs provide free sterile needles, syringes, cookers, cottons, water and ties. Search for a syringe exchange program near you.

If you use heroin, oxycodone or other opioids

You may have heard about methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone®). These are prescription medications – also called medication-assisted treatment – that can help you decrease, manage, or stop your use.

Know your status.

  • Get Tested. If you have ever injected drugs, even once, it is important to get tested for Hep C.
  • Get Cured. If you have Hep C, there is a cure. Talk to a doctor about your options.

For Hep C testing or treatment:

More Hepatitis Info