Hepatitis Forums

Hepatitis C Prevention, Transmission and Testing => Am I Infected? => Topic started by: lost on May 20, 2016, 02:34:41 pm

Title: Hep C Pipe Transmission?
Post by: lost on May 20, 2016, 02:34:41 pm
Am I at risk for contracting Hepatitis C? 3 days ago I had several potential transmission events with a woman of unknown HCV status, but in a risk group for it (been in prison, homeless, DIY tatoos & sex worker). Over the course of several hours we shared 6 pipe hits of methamphetamine from a glass crack pipe, with post-hit mouth-to-mouth smoke sharing. Additionally, we made an improvised pipe for smoking pot out of a soda can that we back-and-forth shared 4 times. We did not have any contact outside of that shared drug use. I thought nothing of potential transfer events at the time, but I've since found this paper which reports: out of 51 crack users, 22 were positive for the HCV antibody,  1 of their total 51 pipes tested positive for hepatitis C; the pipe that tested positive for Hep C came from a user with oral sores (Fischera 2007). I frequently bite my lips, and they were definitely chapped that day. The glass pipe we shared had no sharp edges, BUT the soda can pop tab was sharp. I didn't notice any blood, but I am a nervous wreck about the whole thing ... thinking maybe there were tiny cuts and minuscule blood transfer happened. Am I being crazy? How likely is a transfer in this event? I know that needlestick transfer events result in Hep C transfer only 1.8% of the time (according to the CDC). Can someone give me an unbiased opinion on all of this? This is the most reckless thing I've ever done ...

Fischera 2007 Hepatitis C virus transmission among oral crack users: viral detection on crack paraphernalia
CDC Exposure to Blood Pamphlet http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/pdfs/bbp/Exp_to_Blood.pdf
Title: Re: Hep C Pipe Transmission?
Post by: Lynn K on May 21, 2016, 01:40:58 am
All I can say with confidence is your odds are likely lower than the accidental needle stick scenario of 1.8%

The first resource you listed said 1 pipe in a sample 51 pipes 2% tested positive for hep c so given that hep c is difficult to contract and in this very small sampling 2% of pipes had hep c  it would seem the risk is theoretical and very low but not non existent.

Hep c requires blood to blood contact. Hep c infected blood needs to come into contact with an open wound i.e. one that is wet and weeping. If worried you can be tested 6 months after this concerning event to be confident of results.

However, if you ever do test positive hep c is now very curable so still no reason to worry. Get tested, get treated, and get cured. Hep c is a very slowly acting illness taking decades to cause significant liver damage in most people if ever. Only about 20% of people infected for 20 years will develop liver cirrhosis the remaining 80% won't.

Good luck to you