Viral hepatitis B (Hep B), hepatitis C (Hep C) and HIV are the three main blood borne viruses (BBVs). There are many ways these viruses can be transmitted.
Hepatitis can be transmitted through:
unprotected sex (Hep B)
mother to baby at birth (Hep B)
sharing needles and syringes or drug use (Hep B and C)
sharing razors, toothbrushes, and clippers with someone infected with Hep C
blood to blood contact or bodily fluids
contaminated blood products used for blood transfusions before 1991
tattooing or piercing with unsterilised equipment
All types of viral hepatitis can be controlled or prevented and if diagnosed early, health problems caused by the virus could be prevented. Viral hepatitis can affect anyone, whatever their race, age or gender.
HIV is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex and the sharing of needles. People can be infected if they come into direct contact with infected bodily fluids such as:
Preventative measures include wearing condoms which are supplied free of charge by the Blood Borne Viruses Department and the Sexual Health Department.
Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication you can take within 72 hours of a possible exposure to HIV. It's available from
The Emergency Department (A&E) and
The Sexual Health Department.
If you need more information you can email us for advice.
Free confidential testing, sexual health screening is available from: