Alcohol is very hard on the liver, especially if you have Hepatitis B, C or liver problems. Drinking can cause liver damage to occur faster, and can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Reducing – or eliminating – alcohol reduces harm to your liver.



Injection Drug Use

Hepatitis B & C can be passed from one person to another when the blood of an infected person gets into another person’s blood stream through cuts, tears, or even tiny invisible holes in the skin. Hepatitis B & C can ‘live’ outside of the body for days or even weeks. Sharing of injection equipment is the greatest risk factor for Hepatitis C.

  • Do not share any injection equipment including: needle, syringe, spoon, cooker, cotton, water, drugs, matches, lighter, alcohol wipe, tie, filter or anything else that could even have a tiny invisible drop of blood.
  • Access new sterile injection or drug use equipment


Unprotected sex, or sex involving blood or tearing of tissues, can result in Hepatitis B or C passing from one person to another. Protect yourself and others!

  • Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B and encourage all sexual partners to get vaccinated
  • Use condoms and lubrication every time
  • Avoid sexual activity that could involve blood: rough sex, anal sex, sex during menstruation
  • Do not share sex toys
  • Ask your partner about their Hepatitis B and C status, just as you would ask about their HIV or Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) status – before getting into the sexual situation
  • If you have Hepatitis B or C, inform your partner before getting sexually involved. See ‘How to tell others you have Hepatitis B

Harm Reduction Resources

  • Harm Reduction Coalition. Many excellent guides to help drug users protect themselves and their community, such as: Getting Off Right Safety Manual
  • Injection Drug Users Health Alliance (IDUHA)
  • Staying Safe is a project developed to discover strategies, resources, practices and prevention tactics used by long-term IDUs who managed to remain uninfected with HIV and HCV. Avoid the desperation of withdrawal, which is when people are most likely to share or reuse needles or other equipment. Plan ahead so that you are never without the supplies you need. Maintain strong social connections. Enroll in a methadone or buprenorphine program: call 1-800-LIFENET for a referral
  • VOCAL NY Users Union. A membership lead organization comprised of drug users, those who identify with drug users and allies, organizes as a movement for the education, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C (HCV) and sound public policies affecting drug users.
  • See the Site Locator page for alcohol treatment referrals
  • For information on safe needle/syringe practices and pharmacies that can help you stay safe, click to learn about ESAP.