1) Stop or limit injection drug use, if you are currently using. If you can’t quit, limit your risk by using a clean, sterile syringe every time and never sharing a rig—including cookers, cottons and water—with anyone else. In areas where needle exchange programs make clean needles available to injection drug users, rates of HCV transmission have been known to fall. If needle exchange is available in your area, take advantage of it.

2) Don’t share razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, hair clippers or any other personal hygiene item that could pass blood from one person to another.

3) Don’t get pierced or tattooed anywhere but at a shop or office licensed by your local health department. Don’t get a tat or piercing in prison, where sterile practices are hard to carry out.

4) Do practice safer sex. Use a condom every time. This simple step can protect you against other infections, including HIV. And be aware of your own level of risk. Some studies have shown that people with multiple sex partners face a higher risk of contracting HCV. Sex that involves bleeding poses a greater danger of HCV transmission.

Play it safe. Why not?