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Can I give HIV or hepatitis C to someone else?

for Veterans and the Public

Can I give HIV or hepatitis C to someone else?

Through sex?

HIV is spread by infected blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. There are a number of ways of keeping sex partners from getting HIV -- these include taking HIV medications to keep your HIV viral load suppressed, and using condoms for sex.

Hepatitis C is spread mainly by the blood and sometimes by sex. If you have sex, the best thing to do to prevent both infections is to always use a condom, dental dam, or other latex barrier and avoid "rough sex" or other activities that might cause bleeding. For more information, see tips for using condoms and dental dams.

Sharing drugs?

Sharing needles or works to inject drugs is one of the easiest ways to spread both HIV and hepatitis C. By sharing needles or works, you even can spread both of these viruses at the same time.

The best thing to do, especially if you have HIV or hepatitis C, is not use drugs. Talk to your doctor about getting help to stop.

If you use drugs, make sure that your needle and works are clean (or brand new) every time and never share them with anyone else. Sharing equipment used to snort or smoke drugs such as cocaine also may spread hepatitis C, and possibly HIV.