Who is affected by hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. It affects at least 4 million people in the U.S. and 175 million people worldwide.

It is not always clear how a person becomes infected with hepatitis C. But it is estimated that:1

  • Between 60% and 90% of people who get hepatitis C are those who have been repeatedly exposed to infected blood. These include injection drug users and people with hemophilia who were treated with blood clotting factor concentrates before 1987.
  • Between 10% and 20% of people who have received hemodialysis for kidney problems are infected with hepatitis C.
  • Less than 5% of people are infected because of high-risk sexual behavior.
  • About 1% of people, such as health care workers, become infected through accidental exposure to infected blood.


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2006). Hepatitis C. In LK Pickering, ed., Red Book: 2006 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 27th ed., pp. 355–359. Elk Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Last Updated: July 13, 2009

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