Blood-borne viruses (BBVs) include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. If untreated, HIV can cause Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
BBVs are passed from person to person through blood-to-blood. The best way to protect yourself from BBVs is to avoid anyone else's blood coming into contact with yours. A big risk for getting BBVs is injecting drugs. HIV and hepatitis B can also be sexually transmitted.
- make sure tattoo or body piercing equipment has been sterilised, and don't share other people's earrings or body jewellery
- don't inject drugs. If you do, always use new needles and syringes, and never share any injecting equipment. For more information on needle and syringe programs go to the Healthy WA website (external site)
- don't share personal items like razors or toothbrushes because they can carry traces of infected blood
- always use condoms and water-based lubricant
- ask your doctor or a health professional about the hepatitis B vaccine if you are not sure if you have had it (there is no vaccine for hepatitis C or HIV).
A needlestick injury is when a person’s skin is accidently punctured by a used needle. In Western Australia there has not been a documented case of a person contracting a blood-borne virus from a needle stick injury that occurred in a community setting (such as a park or beach), and the risk is considered to be very low.
For more information on how to treat a needlestick injury go to the Healthy WA website (external site)