How Are Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Spread From Person To Person
Like HIV, the hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses spread:
- From mother to child: Pregnant women can pass these infections to their infants. HIV-HCV coinfection increases the risk of passing on hepatitis C to the baby.
- Sexually: Both viruses can also be transmitted sexually, but HBV is much more likely than HCV to be transmitted sexually. Sexual transmission of HCV is most likely to happen among gay and bisexual men who are living with HIV.
Hepatitis: How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus . The virus interferes with the functions of the liver and causes pathological damage. A small percentage of infected people cannot get rid of the virus and become chronically infected these people are at higher risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
HBV is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person the same way as the human immunodeficiency virus . However, HBV is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
The main ways of getting infected with HBV are:
- from mother to baby at the birth
- from child-to-child
- unsafe injections and transfusions
- unprotected sexual contact.
Worldwide, most infections occur from mother-to-child, from child-to-child , and from reuse of unsterilized needles and syringes. Before the widespread use of the hepatitis B vaccine, almost all children in developing countries used to become infected with the virus.
Other Types Of Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis D infects only people who are already infected with . HDV is transmitted the same way as HBVthrough blood and other body fluids. Because hepatitis D can occur only in people with hepatitis B, vaccination against HBV also prevents HDV infection. When people who have hepatitis B contract hepatitis D, the result can be a superinfection, which has a poor prognosis.
Hepatitis E was first identified in 1980, and little is known about it. Hepatitis E manifests only as an acute . It is most often transmitted through the , with the highest rates in countries with poor sanitation. While vaccines are not available at this time, they are in development.
Hepatitis F was identified in 1991, and researchers disagree on whether it is a discrete type of viral . No diagnostic tests exist for HFV .
Little is known about Hepatitis G , which was identified in 1995, but it does not appear to cause significant liver damage.
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How Does Hbv Spread From Person To Person
HBV is spread through contact with the blood, semen, or other body fluid of a person who has HBV. Among adults in the United States, HBV is spread mainly through sexual contact.
HBV can also spread from person to person in the following ways:
- From contact with the blood or open sores of a person who has HBV
- From an accidental prick or cut from an HBV-contaminated needle or other sharp object
- From a mother who has HBV to her child during childbirth
Hiv And Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Coinfection
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by a virus. Because these infections can be spread in the same ways as HIV, people with HIV in the United States are often also affected by chronic viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Liver disease, much of which is related to HBV or HCV, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV.
Given the risks of hepatitis B or hepatitis C coinfection to the health of people living with HIV, it is important to understand these risks, take steps to prevent infection, know your status, and, if necessary, get medical care from someone who is experienced in treating people who are coinfected with HIV and HBV, or HIV and HCV.
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What Should You Know About Pregnancy And Hepatitis B
A pregnant woman who has hepatitis B can pass the infection to her baby at delivery. This is true for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.
You should ask your healthcare provider to test you for hepatitis B when you find out you are pregnant. However, while it is important for you and your healthcare provider to know if you do have hepatitis B, the condition should not affect the way that your pregnancy progresses.
If you do test positive, your provider may suggest that you contact another healthcare provider, a liver doctor, who is skilled in managing people with hepatitis B infections. You may have a high viral load and may need treatment during the last 3 months of your pregnancy. A viral load is the term for how much of the infection you have inside of you.
You can prevent your infant from getting hepatitis B infection by making sure that your baby gets the hepatitis B vaccine in the hours after they are born along with the hepatitis B immunoglobulin. These two shots are given in two different locations on the baby. They are the first shots needed.
Depending on the type of vaccine used, two or three more doses must be given, usually when the baby is 1 month old and then 6 months old, with the last by the time the baby is 1 year old. It is critical that all newborns get the hepatitis B vaccination, but even more important if you have hepatitis B yourself.
What Is Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by viruses, alcohol or substance use, to toxins, and certain diseases. Viral refers to liver inflammation caused by one of several types of viruses that attack the liver. In the United States, these are primarily , virus , and virus , but other types of hepatitis viruses do exist. The body can rid itself of in some cases. In others, the body cannot get rid of the infection by itself and the infection becomes chronic .
Overview of the Most Common Types of Viral Hepatitis.
Hepatitis can be acute, which means that the does not last longer than 6 months. If the bodys cannot fight off the within 6 months, the disease is considered chronic. In the United States, three to five times more people are living with B or C than with human immunodeficiency virus . Chronic hepatitis can lead to very serious health consequenceseven deathbecause of liver failure or related medical conditions.
Most people who have do not know it . In most cases, people with have no symptoms of the disease, or their symptoms are so mild they do not see a medical care provider about them. Symptoms of hepatitis include the following:
- General feeling of being unwell
- Flu-like symptoms
- Lack of appetite, weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain
- Tea- or dark-colored urine
- Pale bowel movements
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Hepatitis C Virus Is Curable
Hepatitis C infection can be cured in certain cases. There are new antiviral drugs that can treat the disease and rid the body of HCV in some patients. The choice of medications and regimens varies by the virus genotype and other factors, such as the presence of cirrhosis and the patient’s treatment history. These new drug treatments are used in different combinations depending on the patient’s specific situation. Consult with a Hepatitis C treatment specialist to determine the treatment options that are right for you.
How Is Hepatitis B Treated
Your healthcare provider will treat you based on what type of hepatitis B you have, acute or chronic.
Acute hepatitis B infections
If you develop an acute form of the condition, you probably wont need medical treatment. Instead, your doctor will likely suggest that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and maintain a healthy diet to support your body as it fights off the infection.
Chronic hepatitis B infections
If you have chronic hepatitis B, you might be a candidate for drug therapy. Usually, drug therapy is used only if you have active liver disease. There are seven drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hepatitis B. Two are injectable forms of interferon, while the five other antivirals are tablets.
You will need to take these medications every day. They help by slowing the viruss ability to multiply in your system. This helps reduce swelling and liver damage. Youll need to be regularly monitored for early signs of liver damage and liver cancer. Your healthcare provider will want to see you once or twice a year.
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Scientists Discover Hepatitis C Virus Can Remain Infectious Outside Of The Body For Up To 6 Weeks
Dr. Ronald ValdiserriA recent study by researchers from the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health revealed that the hepatitis C virus can remain infectious for up to 6 weeks on surfaces at room temperatureresulting in a much longer period for potential transmission than was previously appreciated. Prior to this study, scientists believed that HCV could survive for up to four days on surfaces outside of the body. These findings have implications for the safety of patients and workers in healthcare settings as well as for reducing viral hepatitis transmission associated with drug useboth of which are priority areas outlined in the national Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.
Our findings clearly demonstrate that strict infection control practices and universal precautions are needed in the clinical setting to avoid contact with infectious agents such as HCV that can survive on surfaces, noted study co-author Professor Robert Heimer of the Yale School of Public Health in a release announcing the study findings. The implications go beyond the clinic to the risk environment of people who use syringes outside of medical care settings. Unsafe practices, such as sharing of syringes by people who inject drugs or careless handling of human blood during home delivery of intravenous medications, can lead to HCV transmission.
Implications for Preventing Healthcare-Associated HCV Transmission
Dr. Jag H. Khalsa
What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Hepatitis B
Due to the way that hepatitis B spreads, people most at risk for getting infected include:
- Children whose mothers have been infected with hepatitis B.
- Children who have been adopted from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection.
- People who have unprotected sex and/or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
- People who live with or work in an institutional setting, such as prisons or group homes.
- Healthcare providers and first responders.
- People who share needles or syringes.
- People who live in close quarters with a person with chronic hepatitis B infection.
- People who are on dialysis.
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How Do You Test For Hepatitis B
A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given extra tests to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis B you should be tested for other STIs. Its important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis B dont notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. This can also stop you from getting the infection again.
Hepatitis B Symptoms & Treatment
- Hepatitis B is a virus found in infected blood, semen and vaginal fluids.
- Its a sexually transmitted infection that can be passed on through unprotected sex. You can also get it from contaminated needles and syringes. Its also commonly passed on from a mother to her baby during birth.
- There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, which is routinely offered to infants as well as at-risk groups.
- You can prevent hepatitis B by practising safer sex, never sharing needles and syringes, and avoiding unlicensed tattoo parlours and acupuncturists.
- Most people dont need treatment for acute hepatitis B. If the infection becomes chronic, there is no cure, but it can be managed with treatment.
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How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed
There are three main ways to diagnose HBV infection. They include:
- Blood tests: Tests of the blood serum shows how your bodys immune system is responding to the virus. A blood test can also tell you if you are immune to HBV.
- Abdominal ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to show the size and shape of your liver and how well the blood flows through it.
- Liver biopsy: A small sample of your liver tissue is removed though a tiny incision and sent to a lab for analysis.
The blood test that is used to diagnose hepatitis B is not a test that you get routinely during a medical visit. Often, people whove become infected first learn they have hepatitis B when they go to donate blood. Blood donations are routinely scanned for the infection.
The virus can be detected within 30 to 60 days of infection. About 70% of adults with hepatitis B develop symptoms, which tend to appear an average of 90 days after initial exposure to the virus.
Is Hepatitis Testing Recommended For People With Hiv
Yes. Everyone living with HIV should be tested for HBV and HCV when they are first diagnosed with HIV and begin treatment. People living with HIV who have ongoing risk factors for getting hepatitis B or hepatitis C should be tested annually.
In addition, new HCV screening recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for:
- One-time screening for all adults 18 years and older
- Screening of all pregnant women during every pregnancy
- Testing for all persons with risk factors, with testing continued periodic testing those with ongoing risk.
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How Many People Have Hepatitis B
In the United States, an estimated 862,000 people were chronically infected with HBV in 2016. New cases of HBV infection in the United States had been decreasing until 2012. Since that time, reported cases of acute hepatitis B have been fluctuating around 3,000 cases per year. In 2018, 3,322 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported however, because of low case detection and reporting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were 21,600 acute hepatitis B infections. New HBV infections are likely linked to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.
Globally, HBV is the most common blood-borne infection with an estimated 257 million people infected according to the World Health Organization .
What Is The Connection Between Hiv And Hbv
Both HIV and HBV spread from person to person in semen, blood, or other body fluids. For this reason, the main risk factors for HIV and HBV are the same: having sex without a condom and injection drug use.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , approximately 10% of people with HIV in the United States also have HBV. Infection with both HIV and HBV is called HIV/HBV coinfection.
Chronic HBV advances faster to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, and liver cancer in people with HIV/HBV coinfection than in people with only HBV infection. But chronic HBV does not appear to cause HIV to advance faster in people with HIV/HBV coinfection.
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How Is Hepatitis B Spread
You can become infected with hepatitis B through exposure to blood, semen and other bodily fluids of an infected person. You can get the infection by:
- Having unprotected sex.
- Sharing or using dirty needles for drug use, tattoos or piercing.
- Sharing everyday items that may contain body fluids, including razors, toothbrushes, jewelry for piercings and nail clippers.
- Being treated medically by someone who does not use sterile instruments.
- Being bitten by someone with the infection.
- Being born to a pregnant woman with the infection.
Hepatitis B is not spread by:
- Kissing on the cheek or lips.
- Coughing or sneezing.
- Hugging, shaking hands or holding hands.
- Eating food that someone with the infection has prepared.
More About Hepatitis And Hiv Infections
- Symptoms of hepatitis B and hepatitis C may be mild, and not start until 2 weeks to 6 months after contact with the virus. Sometimes, there are no symptoms.
- Hepatitis B often gets better on its own and sometimes does not need to be treated. Some people develop a long-term infection that leads to liver damage.
- Most people who become infected with hepatitis C develop a long-term infection. After many years, they often have liver damage.
After someone is infected with HIV, the virus stays in the body. It slowly harms or destroys the immune system. Your body’s immune system fights disease and helps you heal. When it is weakened by HIV, you are more likely to get sick from other infections, including ones that would not normally make you sick.
Treatment can help people with all of these infections.
Hepatitis B can be prevented by a vaccine. There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C or HIV.
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How Is Hepatitis B Transmitted
Hepatitis B is spread in several distinct ways: sexual contact sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment or from mother-to-child at birth.
In the United States, in 2018, injection drug use was the most common risk factor reported among people with an acute HBV infection, followed by having multiple sex partners. Less commonly reported risk factors included accidental needle sticks, surgery, transfusions, and household contact with a person with HBV infection. In the United States, healthcare-related transmission of HBV is rare.
Mother-to-child transmission of HBV is especially concerning, because it is preventable. An estimated 25,000 infants are born to mothers diagnosed with HBV each year in the United States, and approximately 1,000 mothers transmit HBV to their infants. Without appropriate medical care and vaccinations, 90% of HBV-infected newborns will develop chronic infection, remaining infected throughout their lives. Up to 25% of people infected at birth will die prematurely of HBV-related causes. For this reason, the standard of care for pregnant women includes an HBV test during each pregnancy so that the appropriate steps can be taken to prevent HBV-positive mothers from transmitting the disease to her infant.