What You Can Do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if theres anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms youre experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements youre taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Whats the medical name of the infection or infections I have?
- How is the infection transmitted?
- Will it keep me from having children?
- If I get pregnant, could I give it to my baby?
- Is it possible to catch this again?
- Could I have caught this from someone I had sex with only once?
- Could I give this to someone by having sex with that person just once?
- How long have I had it?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Should I avoid being sexually active while Im being treated?
- Does my partner have to go to a doctor to be treated?
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
During the acute phase most persons have no symptoms or might experience a mild illness. Symptoms of acute HCV infection, when present, may include:
- Dark-colored urine, light-colored stools
During the chronic phase hepatitis C usually progresses silently, with no symptoms at all during the first 10-20 years. Signs of severe liver scarring may include:
- Star-shaped vein pattern developing on the swollen belly
- Easy bruising and bleeding
Because symptoms of hepatitis C are usually absent, persons with risk for HCV infection should be tested. The blood test for hepatitis C infection is called the hepatitis C antibody test. People who have hepatitis C infection will show positive antibodies on this test. In many cases, it is necessary to confirm a positive hepatitis C antibody test with a more specific test, such as a test for HCV virus RNA.
If you think you have hepatitis C or have risk for hepatitis C, you should contact your doctor. The Communicable Disease Control Unit may be able to help answer your questions.
What Is Viral Hepatitis
Viral Hepatitis: This is the inflammation and necrosis of the liver caused by a virus or group of viruses. There are other types of hepatitis including hepatotoxic and drugs-related hepatitis and alcoholic hepatitis.
Types of Viral Hepatitis
There are many types of viral hepatitis. Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, and G e.t.c
HEPATITIS B: It is caused by the Hepatitis B virus. A DNA hepadna virus with a partially double-stranded DNA genome.
HEPATITIS C: This is a serious and often-silent liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus a single-stranded RNA virus. At least six major genotypes have been identified.
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How Did I Get It
There are several ways of getting hepatitis B. One way is by sexual contact with an infected person.
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through blood and body fluids especially through anal sex. Other ways are by sharing personal items , and sharing needles or equipment for injection drug use. Healthcare and emergency service workers can get it through needle stick injuries or blood splashes in the eyes, nose, mouth or on broken skin.
Is Hepatitis A A Sexually Transmitted Disease
by ShawnPublished on April 8, 2020Updated on June 15, 2020
While hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, all cause liver inflammation, they are different diseases caused by different viruses. The latter two may be sexually transmitted, but hepatitis A is typically not considered an STD. For this reason, people often wonder if hepatitis A is sexually transmitted at all. And if not, how is it passed from one person to another? All great questions, but to answer them, well need to start with the basics.
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What Do Hepatitis C Symptoms Look Like
Hepatitis C infection can go through two stages: acute and chronic. In the early, or acute stage, most people don’t have symptoms. If they do develop symptoms, these can include:
- flu-like symptoms, tiredness, high temperature and aches and pains
- loss of appetite
- tummy pain
- jaundice, meaning your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow
While for some people, the infection will clear without treatment, in most cases, acute infection will develop into long-term chronic infection. Chronic infection may not become apparent for a number of years until the liver displays signs of damage. These symptoms can include:
- mental confusion and depression these are specific to hepatitis C
- constantly feeling tired
- nausea, vomiting or tummy pain
- dark urine
- feeling bloated
- joint and muscle pain
Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver , which can cause the liver to stop working properly. A small number of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer and these complications can lead to death. Other than a liver transplant, theres no cure for cirrhosis. However, treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Other Modes Of Transmission
It can also be present in saliva, semen, and vaginal secretions and through HbsAg positive mothers to the child . Hepatitis B is prevalent in homosexuals and intravenous drug users but most cases result from heterosexual transmission. The incubation period of hepatitis B is 6 weeks to 6 months . That of Hepatitis C is between 6-7 weeks and clinical illness is often mild, usually asymptomatic.
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Can Hepatitis C Be Spread During Vaginal Sex
Its rare for the hepatitis C virus to be transmitted through vaginal intercourse. Unless the vaginal walls arent lubricated or intercourse is very rough and leads to tears in the vaginal wall, theres no opportunity for blood to be exchanged. The risk for transmission with vaginal intercourse is about 1 in 190,000, according to research published in the March 2013 issue of the journal Hepatology.
Research published in the Journal of Coagulation Disorders in March 2014 reinforces these findings, emphasizing that transmission of the hepatitis C virus by sex in monogamous heterosexual couples is rare. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that couples in monogamous heterosexual relationships do not need to use condoms routinely, even if one partner has hepatitis C. Concerned couples, however, can discuss using a condom to lower the already very low risk of spreading the virus, says Talal.
Just how safe sex is when a partner has hepatitis C hinges on some other factors as well. For example, its important to use a new condom with each sexual act that has the potential to expose the uninfected partner to the infected persons blood, even if youre in a committed relationship, says the CDC. Some of these situations include sex when you or your partner:
- Has an open cut or sore
- Has another sexually transmitted infection , especially one that causes sores or lesions
- Is having her menstrual period
No Identifiable Source Of Infection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injection drug use accounts for approximately 60% of all HCV infections in the United States, while other known exposures account for 20-30%. Approximately 10% of patients in most epidemiological studies, however, have no identifiable source of infection. HCV exposure in these patients may be from a number of uncommon modes of transmission, including vertical transmission, and parenteral transmission from medical or dental procedures prior to the availability of HCV testing. There are no conclusive data to show that persons with a history of exposures such as intranasal cocaine use, tattooing or body piercing are at an increased risk for HCV infection based on these exposures solely. It is believed, however, that these are potential modes of HCV acquisition in the absence of adequate sterilization techniques.
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What To Expect From Your Doctor
Giving your doctor a complete report of your symptoms and sexual history will help your doctor determine how to best care for you. Here are some of the things your doctor may ask:
- What symptoms made you decide to come in? How long have you had these symptoms?
- Are you sexually active with men, women or both?
- Do you currently have one sex partner or more than one?
- How long have you been with your current partner or partners?
- Have you ever injected yourself with drugs?
- Have you ever had sex with someone who has injected drugs?
- What do you do to protect yourself from STIs?
- What do you do to prevent pregnancy?
- Has a doctor or nurse ever told you that you have chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis or HIV?
- Have you ever been treated for a genital discharge, genital sores, painful urination or an infection of your sex organs?
- How many sex partners have you had in the past year? In the past two months?
- When was your most recent sexual encounter?
Sexual Transmission And Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual activity. Unvaccinated adults who have multiple sex partners, along with sex partners of people with chronic hepatitis B infection, are at increased risk for transmission. Injection-drug use and sexual contact are other common modes of hepatitis B transmission in the United States.
Among adults seeking treatment in STD clinics, as many as 10%40% have evidence of past or current hepatitis B virus infection. Many of these infections could have been prevented through universal vaccination during delivery of STD prevention or treatment services. Offering vaccination to all adults as part of routine prevention services in STD treatment facilities has been demonstrated to increase vaccination coverage among adults at risk for hepatitis B infection, as the behavioral risk factors for STDs and hepatitis B are similar.
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Safe Sex And Sexually Transmitted Diseases
All sexually active people should consider safe sex because of the risk of contracting a sexually transmissible infection. STIs include conditions such as genital herpes, HIV, hepatitis B, gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, crabs and genital warts.
If you have any condition that involves scratching, sores or blisters the possibility of blood-to-blood contact and transmission of STIs is increased.
Sexual Transmission And Hepatitis C
Although not common, hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity. Having a sexually transmitted infection, having sex with multiple partners, and engaging in anal sex appear to increase a persons risk for hepatitis C. MSM with multiple sex partners who are coinfected with HCV and HIV have been shown to transmit hepatitis C. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. CDC recommends one-time hepatitis C testing of all adults and regular testing for people with risk factors. The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease and the Infectious Diseases Society of America also recommend that people who are infected with HCV be provided with curative, direct-acting antiviral medicationsexternal icon to treat their HCV infection.
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Ner Notification And Preventive Treatment
If tests show that you have an STI, your sex partners including your current partners and any other partners youve had over the last three months to one year need to be informed so that they can get tested. If theyre infected, they can then be treated.
Each state has different requirements, but most states require that certain STIs be reported to the local or state health department. Public health departments often employ trained disease intervention specialists who can help notify partners and refer people for treatment.
Official, confidential partner notification can help limit the spread of STIs, particularly for syphilis and HIV. The practice also steers those at risk toward counseling and the right treatment. And since you can contract some STIs more than once, partner notification reduces your risk of getting reinfected.
General Transmission Of Hep C
Hep C is most commonly transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, i.e. when the blood of someone with the virus enters the bloodstream of someone else. This can occur through:
- Sharing needles or syringes or any other drug injecting equipment
- Unsafe tattooing or body piercing
- Less common means are from mother to baby at birth , household transmissions and occupational transmission .
- There is no documented evidence that breastfeeding spreads hep C. If a nursing mothers nipples are cracked and bleeding, she should stop nursing temporarily until her nipples are healed.
- Before hep C tests were introduced in Australia , some people received contaminated blood transfusions or blood products. All blood donations in Australia are now screened for hepatitis C.
- Being hep C positive means that you have tested positive with the hep C PCR blood test. Antibody tests cant confirm whether or not you actually have hep C.
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Can Vaccines Prevent The Sexual Transmission Of Hepatitis
- Hepatitis A: Measures used to prevent the spread of STDs, like the use of condoms, do not prevent hepatitis A transmission. Fortunately, an effective vaccine for preventing Hepatitis A transmission is available and is the most important measure to protect people at risk of infection.
- Hepatitis B: A hepatitis B vaccine safely and effectively protects against infection of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have recommended the hepatitis B vaccination for:
- Sexually active people who are not in long-term, mutually monogamous relationships .
- People seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.
- CDC also recommends hepatitis B testing and hepatitis B vaccination for
- Sexual partners of people with hepatitis B.
Hepatitis And Sex: Frequently Asked Questions
Itâs widely known that viral hepatitis can spread through consuming contaminated food or sharing dirty hypodermic needles. But the liver-destroying disease can also sometimes be spread through sexual contact. Hereâs what you need to know to protect yourself.
How many kinds of viral hepatitis are there?
Scientists have identified at least five types of viral hepatitis that lead to liver problems. In the U.S., the main threats are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Can all types be spread by sexual contact?
Hepatitis A spreads via fecal-oral contact, which can occur if there is direct oral-anal contact or contact with fingers or objects that have been in or near the anus of an infected person. If even a microscopic amount of virus-laden feces gets into the mouth, infection potentially can result.
Are men and women equally at risk of getting and spreading hepatitis through sex?
The risk is determined by a personâs behavior, not their gender, although some studies have shown that it is easier for a man to transmit HCV to a woman than vice versa.
Men who have sex with men are 10 to 15 times more likely than the general population to be infected with hepatitis B.
How can I make sure my partner is free of hepatitis before we have sex?
Are some sex acts especially likely to transmit hepatitis?
Any sexual activity that might cause abrasions, cuts, or other trauma is especially risky.
Is it possible to catch hepatitis from kissing?
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How Can Hepatitis A Be Treated
There is no cure for hepatitis A. Your best bet is to prevent contracting the virus in the first place with proper hand hygiene. Vaccination is recommended for all children at age one and for other people at high risk of contracting the virus, including men who have sex with men and people who use illicit drugs. Other people who should be vaccinated include people traveling to or adopting children from areas of the world with high rates of hepatitis A, people who may be exposed to hepatitis A at work, people with liver disease, and people who receive certain blood products. If youve been exposed to the virus and are not vaccinated, your doctor may recommend an injection known as postexposure prophylaxis , which can prevent the virus from affecting you if you take it within two weeks of exposure. If you think you have hepatitis A or were exposed to it, seek medical attention and follow the advice of your physician. Most people recover without any specific treatment. Once symptoms subside, you are immune from contracting it in the future.
Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood
You can get hepatitis C from sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment during recreational drug use. Banknotes and straws used for snorting may also pass the virus on.
Being exposed to unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment can also pass hepatitis C on. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing a towel, razor blades or a toothbrush if there is infected blood on them.
Hepatitis C infection is also passed on in healthcare settings, from needle stick injuries or from medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised. In countries where blood products are not routinely screened, you can also get hepatitis C by receiving a transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
You can prevent hepatitis C by:
- never sharing needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood
- only having tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
- following the standard infection control precautions, if youre working in a healthcare setting.
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Can Virgins Get Stds
Yes, they can. Many STDs spread through any type of sexual activity, including skin-to-skin contact and oral sex. This is especially true of STDs that produce genital lesions or sores.
The best ways to avoid getting an STD are to abstain from any sexual contact.
Do not share sharps and needles.
Avoid the use of unsterilized objects.
Make hygiene a priority.