Hepatitis

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Get answers on hepatitis.

Hepatitis Quick Facts

Hepatitis is a serious virus (versus bacteria) that can attack the liver.  The liver is your body’s engine…without it you could die.

  • The most common forms of the virus are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Hepatitis D and E are less common.  Each virus is unique.
  • Hepatitis A is spread primarily through poor sanitation (cleanliness) and injection drug use.  The hepatitis A virus is passed through the feces (poop) of an infected person.
  • Hepatitis B is spread most often through sexual contact and sharing injection drug needles or other equipment used to shoot up drugs such as works, cotton, cookers, etc.  The hepatitis B virus lives in body fluids such as blood, semen (cum) and vaginal secretions [wetness].
  • Hepatitis C is spread primarily through drug use but may also be spread sexually.  The hepatitis C virus is generally found in the blood of an infected person.
  • Four million Americans are infected with hepatitis C; in comparison, it is estimated that close to 1 million Americans are infected with HIV.
  • Symptoms of hepatitis include yellow eyes and skin, abdominal (stomach) pain or swelling, muscle weakness, joint pain, rashes or arthritis, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue (exhaustion).
  • Sometimes there are no visible symptoms, but there are tests that your health care provider can do to find out whether you have one of the hepatitis viruses.
  • While there is no guaranteed cure for hepatitis, pills or shots can sometimes treat the symptoms.
  • There are vaccines available to prevent being infected with hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The vaccines are safe, and you can get them from a doctor. 
  • There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
  • Hepatitis Overview:

    Hepatitis [HEP – uh – TIGHT – us] is the name for a group of viruses that affect the liver. There are five major types of viral hepatitis:

    Hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) are the most common types of viral hepatitis found in the United States.  Hepatitis D (HDV) and hepatitis E (HEV) are less common.  Each virus is unique but one of the things these viruses have in common is that each one can attack the liver.

    How does someone get hepatitis?

    hepatitis A virus can enter a person’s body when he or she eats or drinks something contaminated (infected) with the stool (poop) of someone who has the disease or by sharing drug needles or drug equipment with someone who has hepatitis A. Symptoms (when present) usually appear suddenly, but there are no chronic (long lasting) problems such as those hepatitis B and C can cause.

    The hepatitis B and C viruses can infect a person if his or her mucous membranes (soft skin lining found in all the natural openings in the body, like inside the mouth) or blood are exposed to an infected person’s blood, saliva, semen (cum), or vaginal secretions (wetness). IF symptoms appear, they will appear more gradually than in hepatitis A. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B and C viruses can stay in the body–sometimes for a lifetime–and may eventually cause chronic (long lasting), serious liver diseases.

    What are the symptoms of hepatitis?

    When hepatitis damages the liver’s cells, scar tissue is formed and those cells can no longer function. With fewer healthy liver cells, the body begins to show symptoms ranging
    from mild (such as fatigue) to severe (such as mental confusion).

    What are the complications of hepatitis?

    Although many cases of hepatitis are not a serious threat to health, the disease can lead to liver cancer, liver failure and death.

    Is hepatitis sexually transmitted?

    Sexual activity poses a different level of risk for each type of viral hepatitis; it is most closely associated with hepatitis B, but hepatitis A and hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity.

    Is there a way to prevent infection with hepatitis?

    Hepatitis A and B are preventable through vaccination, though no vaccination currently exists for hepatitis C or E. Since hepatitis D only.

    This and more information may be found onThe American Social Health Association Website

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