World Hepatitis Day

Publish Date: 25/07/2013

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis can be caused by different things including viruses, long-term alcohol abuse and the use of certain types of drugs. There are loads of different types of hepatitis. However, the three most common are caused by viruses and these are;

·         Hepatitis A

·         Hepatitis B and

·         Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A

What is it? Hep A is generally caused by poor hygiene or from contaminated food and water, which is why many people pick it up whilst they’re on holiday It can also be passed on through rimming, fisting and sharing dildos.

Symptoms; If you do get any symptoms, they may include: diarrhoea, fever, tiredness, general aches and pains, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine and pale poo or weight loss.

Testing: A simple blood test is also carried out to detect the presence of the infection.

Treatment; There is no current treatment for Hep A, but the body is usually able to overcome the infection after a while. So you should rest and avoid alcohol whilst your body fights off the infection

How to avoid it; You can get vaccinated against Hep A at your local sexual health clinic. It’s free of charge and will protect you for around five years.

Hepatitis B

What is it? Hep B is usually found in blood, cum and pre-cum and can be passed on through unprotected oral, anal and vaginal sex and rimming. It is also found in saliva and urine, but is much less likely to be passed on this way.

Symptoms; A lot of people won’t have any symptoms, but if you do, they will be quite similar to Hep A.

Testing; A simple blood test is also carried out to detect the presence of the infection.

Treatment; There are some treatments available for Hep B, but they’re generally only given to people with a chronic infection (and even then it may be impossible to get rid of the virus). Usually you will be asked to rest and avoid alcohol and paracetamol – to avoid putting stress on your liver whilst your body overcomes the infection.

How to avoid it; You can get vaccinated against Hep B at your local sexual health clinic. It’s free of charge and will protect you for around five years

Hepatitis C

What is it? Hep C is usually passed on through blood and is most common amongst injecting drug users. It is difficult to pass sexually, but because the virus can survive outside the body for a long time (possibly up to a month), the virus can also be picked up by sharing toothbrushes and razors with an infected person.

Symptoms; Most people with Hep C won’t have any noticeable symptoms, so the only way to know for sure if you have the infection is to get a blood test.

Treatment; There is no cure for Hep C, but there some long-term treatments available that can help. It’s important to remember that these drugs don’t always work and may come with side effects.

How to avoid it; Using condoms and loads of water-based lube for anal sex; gloves for fisting and fingering; and dental dams for rimming; can help prevent the infection from being passed on. But you should also avoid sharing needles, sex toys, razors or toothbrushes with someone who has the infection.

For more information on other STI’s visit www.lgf.org.uk/men