Like Us on Facebook!
Upcoming Events
  • No events

Hepatitis A, B & C

What is Viral Hepatitis?

Viral Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Several different viruses, named Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses, cause Viral Hepatitis.

All of these viruses cause acute, or short-term, Viral Hepatitis. The Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses can also cause chronic hepatitis, in which the infection is prolonged, sometimes lifelong. Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Symptoms include:

  • Jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin and eye
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low grade fever
  • Headache

However, some people may not have any symptoms.

If you’re sexually active, sign-up for free STD testing reminders via email, text or both at WeAllTest.com. If We All Test, we can help eliminate syphilis and other STDs in our community.

Hepatitis A

How is Hepatitis A spread?

Hepatitis A is spread primarily through food or water contaminated by feces from an infected person. Rarely, it is spread through contact with infected blood.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis A?

People most likely to get Hepatitis A are:

  • International travelers, particularly those traveling to developing countries
  • People who live with or have sex with an infected person
  • People living in areas where children are not routinely vaccinated against Hepatitis A, where outbreaks are more likely
  • Day care children and employees during outbreaks
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Users of recreational drugs, whether injection or not
  • Have clotting factor disorders, such as hemophilia

How can Hepatitis A be prevented?

The Hepatitis A vaccine offers immunity to adults and children older than age 1.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine Hepatitis A vaccination for children aged 12 to 23 months and for high risk adults.

Treatment with immune globulin can provide short-term immunity to Hepatitis A when given before exposure or within 2 weeks of exposure to the virus.

Avoiding tap water when traveling internationally and practicing good hygiene and sanitation also help prevent Hepatitis A.

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A usually resolves on its own over several weeks.

Hepatitis B

How is Hepatitis B spread?

Hepatitis B is spread by direct contact with the blood, serum, or sexual fluids of an infected person.

This can happen by sharing needles or having sex with somebody infected with Hepatitis B.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis B?

People most likely to get Hepatitis B are:

  • People who live with or have sex with an infected person
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have multiple sex partners
  • Persons who use injection drugs
  • Immigrants and children of immigrants from area with high rates of Hepatitis B
  • Infants born to an infected mother
  • Health care workers
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • People who received a blood transfusion or blood products before 1987
  • International travelers

How can hepatitis B be prevented?

The Hepatitis B vaccine offers the best protection.

All infants and unvaccinated children, adolescents, and high risk adults should be vaccinated.

For people who have not been vaccinated, reducing exposure to the virus can help prevent Hepatitis B.

Reducing exposure means using latex condoms, which may lower the risk of transmission; not sharing any blood testing devices, needles or drug equipment; and not sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers with an infected person.

What is the treatment for Hepatitis B?

Drugs approved for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis B include alpha interferon and peginterferon, which slow the replication of the virus in the body and also boost the immune system, and the antiviral drugs lamivudine, adefovir dipivoxil, entecavir, and telbivudine.  Other drugs are also being evaluated.

Infants born to infected mothers should receive Hepatitis B immune globulin and the Hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth the help prevent infection.

People who develop acute Hepatitis B are generally not treated with antiviral drugs because, depending on their age at infection, the disease often resolves on its own.

Infected newborns are most likely to progress to chronic hepatitis B, but by young adulthood, most people with acute infection recover on their own.

Severe acute Hepatitis B can be treated with an antiviral drug such as lamivudine.

Hepatitis C

How is Hepatitis C Spread?

Hepatitis C is spread primarily through contact with infected blood. Less commonly, it can be spread through sexual contact and childbirth.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis C?

People most likely to be exposed to the Hepatitis C virus include:

  • Persons who use injection drugs, even if you only experimented a few times many years ago
  • Recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs before 1992
  • People who received a blood product for clotting problems made before 1987
  • People who have ever been on long-term kidney dialysis
  • People who received body piercing or tattoos with non-sterile instruments
  • People with known exposures, health care workers injured by needlesticks, etc.
  • HIV-infected people
  • Children born to mothers infected with Hepatitis C
  • People with evidence of liver disease (e.g., persistently abnormal ALT levels)

 

How can Hepatitis C be prevented?

There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.

The only way to prevent the disease is to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

Reducing exposure means avoiding behaviors like sharing drug needles or equipment, and not sharing personal items such as t

oothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers with an infected person.

What is the treatment for Hepatitis C?

Each person should discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating hepatitis. This can include some internists, family practitioners, infectious disease doctors, or hepatologists (liver specialists).

People with chronic Hepatitis C should be watched closely for signs of liver disease and evaluated for treatment.

The treatment most often used for Hepatitis C is a combination of two medicines, interferon and ribavirin.

However, not every person with chronic Hepatitis C needs or will benefit from treatment. In addition, the drugs may cause serious side effects in some patients.

Approximately 15%-25% of people who get Hepatitis C will clear the virus from their bodies without treatment and will not develop chronic infection. There is no clear reason why this happens for some people.