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Reduce the risk of transmission

Key messages:
- There is quite a lot you can do to reduce the risk of transmitting hepatitis C. Even if you don’t use condoms.
- On this page you will find 13 general tips for reducing the risk, and additional tips for nine specific situations.
- See if our recommendations work for you.
 

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The top 13 tips

Here are 13 tips for reducing the risk of transmitting hepatitis C.
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  1. Always use your own anal douche. Need to use someone else’s anal douche? Then make sure you know how to disinfect it.
  2. Always use your own jar or bottle of lube. Make sure your sex partner washes and disinfects his hands before picking up your jar or bottle of lube.
  3. Fucking: condoms reduce the risk of transmitting hepatitis C and other STIs. Don’t use condoms? Then don’t let anyone come inside you, and make sure you don’t get sperm on your anus.
  4. Ass play: only use your own dildos/toys in your ass. Never share toys. Make sure no one else’s lube gets on your toys. Want to share toys anyway? Then make sure you know how to disinfect them.
  5. Fisting: gloves reduce the risk of hepatitis C. Degrease and disinfect your hands and forearms immediately after fisting, even if you wear gloves.
  6.  Chems: do not share straws, syringes, needles, meth pipes, etc.
  7. When you are the bottom, lie on your own towel. Never share towels.
  8. Degrease and disinfect the sling, bench or play sheet before you lie or sit on it. And before lying down, place your towel over it.
  9. Taking a break during sex? Wash your crotch and ass with a mild soap or wash gel and rinse thoroughly with water. This will prevent you from leaving traces of lube on the play sheet, chairs, etc., and reduce the risk of passing on the virus if you fuck with someone else. 

    Note: never use disinfectants on your cock or ass. They can irritate your mucous membranes. Washing your cock and ass with mild soap or wash gel and rinsing thoroughly is the most you can do to reduce the risk of spreading hepatitis C.
  10. No matter how careful you are, you can still be at risk: accidents can happen. Therefore, test for hepatitis C every three months, even if you use risk reduction strategies.
  11. Test for other STIs too, every three months. It’s easier to get infected with hepatitis C if you have another STI.
  12. Infected? Get early treatment. There are ways to start treatment early. Once you are cured, you cannot pass on the virus anymore.
  13. Infected? Warn all your sex partners so that they too can get tested. Count at least six months back from the date of your diagnosis. By warning your partners, you can prevent the virus from ping-ponging back and forth within your sexual network.

Note: The text continues after the comic strip. Click here for part 1.

NoMoreC_Hepatitis C risk reduction playroom2

 
NoMoreC Hepatitis C risk reduction playroom3

  

Tips for nine specific situations

You can do a lot to avoid hepatitis C. The following tips are things you can do in nine specific situations. See which ones work for you.

Anal sex in general

  • Write your initials on your jar/bottle of lube. That way others will know which lube is yours.
  • Avoid lying in your sex partners’ lube residue.
  • Are you top? Then avoid playing with your ass, or sticking your fingers in it. You could transfer the virus to your ass if the virus is in the lube on your hands. Or you could transfer lube from your ass to your partner’s.
  • Are you bottom? Then avoid playing with the top’s ass, or sticking your fingers in it. You could transfer the virus to his ass, if there is virus in the lube on your hands. Or you could transfer the virus from his ass to yours.
  • If you’ve recently had any medical treatment involving your anus, wait a few days before having sex again.
  •  Do not have sex if you’ve got herpes. The blisters caused by herpes can make it easier to get hepatitis C.

Fucking

  • Remove cock piercings to reduce the risk of wound/bleeds.
  • Use lots of lube. This reduces the risk of wounds/bleeds.
  •  If you use spit to fuck when you begin (for instance, immediately after rimming), switch to lube as soon as possible. Spit only works for a short while as lubricant. It dries quickly.
  • Remove condoms carefully after fucking. And always wash and disinfect your hands afterwards. If you’ve just fucked someone with hepatitis C, the virus will be on the outside of the condom.

Ass play with fingers, dildos and other toys

  • Keep your dildos/toys apart from your sex partner's stuff, and make sure there is no contact between your dildos/toys when you lay them out on the floor or elsewhere. That way you avoid the risk of someone touching your dildos/toys with lubed fingers when he picks up his own, or touching one of your dildos/toys when he wants to pick up one of yours.
  • Wash and disinfect your hands before touching anyone else’s dildo/toy. Your fingers might still have traces of lube, either your lube or someone else’s.
  • It is better to wear gloves if you’re going to finger anyone, or if you are going to use dildos/toys on anyone.

Fisting

  • Use silicone- or water-based lube to avoid breaking down of latex gloves. Examples of water-based lube: J-lube, Amos or other gels used by veterinarians. Prefer oil or grease? Use nitrile gloves instead. Nitrile tears/breaks down less easily from oil or grease.
  • Are you a bottom and allergic to latex? Ask your partner to use nitrile gloves.
  • Prefer to use grease or oil when fisting? Use nitrile gloves. Nitrile breaks down less easily from grease or oily lube.
  • Use lots of lube. This reduces the risk of bleeds. Buy special bottles to squeeze lube deep into your ass, such as this. Never share these bottles. Only use for yourself. These squeeze bottles are usually sold as douches for women (vaginal douches). Fill these with lube. That way the person playing with your ass can squeeze lube deep into your rectum. There is no better way to get lubed up. These squeeze bottles are sold for single use only, but if you disinfect both bottle and nozzle for 5 minutes in a bleach solution (see disinfecting dildos/toys and anal douches) after each occasion, you can use them multiple times. Warning: Always rinse thoroughly with water after disinfection with chlorine.
  • Go slowly when fisting. Never use force.
  • If you see the lube turning pink, take a break. Pink lube means someone is bleeding. If the bleeding continues, stop fucking or fisting. If you’re the one bleeding, you may want to rinse your ass with cold water to tighten the blood vessels. Then take a long break.
  • Remove fisting gloves carefully after use. If you’ve just fisted someone with hepatitis C, the virus will be on the outside of the gloves.
  • Wash and disinfect your hands and forearms immediately after fisting. Do this even if you used fisting gloves. Washing immediately after fisting prevents you from spreading lube containing the virus.
  • If apart from fisting your sex partner you also fucked him, then wash your cock, balls and pubic hair as well (and if necessary, your groin) using a mild soap or wash gel. Rinse thoroughly with water. Dermatologists recommend that you do not use disinfectants on your cock or anus, because disinfectants can affect the mucous membrane on and in your cock, anus and rectum. If that happens, the risk of getting hepatitis C rises. The best way to get rid of any lube residue is to wash with a mild soap or wash gel, and rinse thoroughly. This is the most you can do below the waist to reduce the risk of spreading hepatitis C.
  • Do not share nail scissors, nail clippers or nail files. The hepatitis C virus can also attach itself to these tools. You should avoid sharing these, the same way you avoid sharing your razor and toothbrush.

Chems

  • Avoid taking chems through the ass (“booty bumping”). It really affects the mucous membranes. This makes you more vulnerable to hepatitis C.
  •  Do not share meth pipes when smoking crystal meth (tina). Sharing meth pipes can be risky. If you drink too little, you run a great risk of getting dry lips. The hot pipe could create small cracks in your lips. If the virus is on the mouthpiece, these cracks make you more vulnerable to getting hepatitis C.
  •  Do not share straws when snorting chems. Snorting drugs/chems can cause minor bleeds in the nose. You may not even notice these bleeds. When this happens, blood particles containing hepatitis C can stick to the straw or whatever you’re using to snort. Tip: Prepare lots of short, pre-cut plastic straws in advance. Place these in a glass and make sure you all throw away used straws immediately after use. Or make sure everyone uses different coloured straws.
  • Do not share syringes when booty bumping (= taking chems through the ass). Always use your own syringe, and don’t leave your syringe next to somebody else’s. Make sure everyone uses a different coloured syringe; that way you avoid people using other people’s syringes by mistake. Hepatitis viruses can survive for a long time in syringes.
  • Do not share needles, syringes, etc. when slamming (= injecting chems). Make sure everyone uses a different coloured syringe and needle; that way you avoid people using other people’s needles or syringes. Put used needles and syringes in a needle container immediately after use.
  • Do not share filters, cotton balls for stopping bleeds, or the cups/containers you put your syringes in when slamming. In addition, do not use the same sterilized water to dissolve your chems as anyone else. The hepatitis virus can survive for a long time on or in all of these items, too.
  • Hand in full needle containers at any pharmacy or at GGD Amsterdam’s STI clinic.

Sex with multiple partners

  • Pay extra attention to disinfection when playing at sex parties.
  • It is better to play with regular sex partners (fuck buddies). It’s easier to discuss risk reduction with them. Regular sex partners are also more likely to warn each other about hepatitis C infections or other STIs.

On dates

  • Before having sex with someone, tell him what risk reduction strategies you use to avoid hepatitis C.
  • Keep the contact details (especially phone numbers) of your sex partners from the last six months. Keep these details for longer if you take hepatitis C tests less than twice a year. Keep the contact details of the sex party’s hosts, too. Write down when you had sex with each person. This is important in case you need to warn partners that you have been diagnosed with hepatitis C. If you keep the host's contact details, you’ll be able to warn the others through him, if necessary.

Preparing for sex

  • If you like to shave your balls, do it a few days before having sex. Shaving can sometimes create small wounds. These wounds make it easier to get or transmit hepatitis C.
  • Is sex happening at your place? Then provide a pile of clean “party towels” (washed at 60 degrees). That way everyone has his own towel. Provide different coloured towels. That way there will be no confusion about which towel belongs to whom.
  • Make sure you have enough rolls of paper towels (this is to remove lube residue before degreasing and disinfecting).
  • Place a dustbin near the action, so that used paper towels, condoms and fisting gloves with lube on them will not be left all over the place.
  • Make sure the lighting is bright enough to let you see if a sex partner starts to bleed. Do not use red lighting.
  • Is sex happening at somebody else’s place? Always take along your own disinfectants, soap and lubricant. Take some towels, too; these are for you to lie on, if you’re a bottom. Don’t assume the person you’re visiting will have these at home.

Aftercare

  • Have you had risky sex? Then wait 14 days and take the NoMoreC C-test! You will get the results within a week.
  • Discovered you’ve got hepatitis C? Go for treatment as soon as possible. Getting cured will stop you from passing on the virus.
  • If you discover you’ve got hepatitis C, warn all your sex partners going back six months. That way they can get tested, too. Warning sex partners is in your own interest: if you don’t warn them and one of them has the virus, you can be infected again after you’ve been cured. Warning sex partners prevents the virus from ping-ponging back and forth between you and them.


NoMoreC Hepatitis C risk reduction snuiven2

For part 1 of the comic strip, click here

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