What is it?
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of your liver.
How do I get it?
Hepatitis A is passed on when small particles of faeces enter a person's mouth through activities such as rimming, or by not washing your hands after sex with an infected person. It is most commonly seen as a form of infection through contamination of food and water.
What symptoms or signs might I notice?
Symptoms of hepatitis A infection may include mild flu-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain and jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes or urine). Symptoms can take 2 - 7 weeks to appear but the infection will usually clear within a month. On rare occasions people can be ill for several months.
How will I be tested for Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is diagnosed with a blood test. Once you have had hepatitis A, antibodies will be detected in your blood. Most people will develop life long immunity to hepatitis A once they have had it, meaning that it is unlikely that you will ever get it again.
How will I be treated for Hepatitis A?
Specific treatment for hepatitis A is not required. Lots of bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids are recommended. If your symptoms are very severe, your GP may recommend that you see a specialist in hospital.
How can I avoid Hepatitis A?
There is a free combined vaccination for hepatitis A and B available. Four doses in total are required for life long immunity. Three vaccinations are given over a 3 week period with a 4th vaccination at 12 months. There is also a separate free vaccine available for hepatitis A as well. Two doses of this vaccine are required at least six months apart.
To prevent passing on hepatitis A to others, wash your hands after using the toilet, before and after sex, after handling used condoms and sex toys that have been in someone else’s anus.
What if I’m HIV-positive?
HIV positive men are encouraged to have both Hepatitis A and B vaccinations to prevent avoidable infection of the liver which is important for your body's handling of prescribed drugs for treatment of HIV and other related infections.
Where can I get help?
If you think you might have Hepatitis A, or have been exposed to it, get a check up at SRP. Click on the services link for check up options.
Planning ahead and taking control will give you the benefit of knowing that whatever else is going on in 2017, you’ll be taking care of your sexual health.Read More