How Do You Get It
HAV can be present in the stool and blood of someone with the virus. Its mainly transmitted through the fecal-oral route, which involves ingesting virus thats present in the stool of someone with hepatitis A.
There are several ways you can get hepatitis A:
- having close person-to-person contact with someone who has hepatitis A, such as:
- taking care of someone whos currently sick
- having sex with someone who has the virus
What To Do If You Live With Someone Who Has Hepatitis C
If you live with someone who has hepatitis C, theres no reason to avoid close personal contact. Feel free to touch, kiss, and cuddle.
The most important thing you can do to prevent getting the virus is to avoid contact with the infected persons blood. Blood can be infectious even when its dry. In fact, the virus can live in blood on surfaces for up to three weeks.
Thats why you should take great care when cleaning up blood spills, however small or old they are.
Here are a few tips for dealing with blood:
- If you see blood, assume its infectious.
- If you have to clean or touch a blood spill, wear disposable gloves. Inspect the gloves for tears and holes before using them.
- Mop up using paper towels or disposable rags.
- Disinfect the area with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
- When finished, dispose of the rags or paper towels in a plastic bag. Remove the gloves carefully and dispose of them as well.
- Wear gloves if you have to touch used bandages or menstrual products that werent disposed of properly.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with blood, even if you wore gloves.
Some personal care items can sometimes contain a small amount of blood. Dont share things like a toothbrush, razor, or manicure scissors.
If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, contact your doctor to find out when you can be tested. Early treatment can help prevent serious liver damage.
Should Your Partner Be Tested
Being tested is entirely up to your partner, but its highly recommended. Unless youve shared needles or other instruments, the likelihood that youve shared blood is low. Still, if your partner has HCV, catching it early will be beneficial. Early treatment is one of the best ways to slow and possibly prevent complications from HCV.
Read Also: Interferon Treatment For Hepatitis C
Men Who Have Sex With Men
Gay or bisexual MSM are the most severely affected population. MSM account for just a small fraction of the total U.S. population, yet nearly two-thirds of all new infections occurred within this group in 2009, and one-half of all people living with HIV in 2008 were MSM. MSM within ethnic minority populations are at greatest risk .
How Is It Treated
Hepatitis A is treated using supportive methods. These can include things like rest, fluids, and healthy foods. Medications can also help to ease some symptoms like fever, aches, and pains.
Theres a vaccine available to protect against infection with HAV. This is typically recommended for children as well as for people at an increased risk for contracting the virus.
Also, receiving a single dose of the hepatitis A vaccine may prevent you from becoming ill if youve been exposed to HAV. For it to be effective, the vaccine needs to be given of exposure.
Read Also: Blood Test For Hepatitis C Screening
What To Do If Youre Intimate With Someone Who Has Hepatitis C
Although its possible to transmit hepatitis C during sex, its not common, especially for monogamous couples. Using latex condoms can help you lower the risk even more.
The virus is more likely to spread when you have multiple sex partners. It may be possible to transmit it during oral sex, but theres no evidence that it actually has spread this way.
Hugging, kissing, and other displays of intimacy wont spread the virus.
Ribavirin is an antiviral medication used to treat hepatitis C. It can cause severe birth defects. This is true no matter which partner is taking it.
Ribavirin is also known as tribavirin or RTCA and is sold under these brand names:
If you take this medication, both partners should use birth control. Continue doing so for six months after you stop taking the drug.
Hepatitis C is also more likely to spread if you:
- also have HIV or a sexually transmitted disease
- have sex during a menstrual period
- have open cuts or sores on your genitals
- have rough sex that results in small tears or bleeding
How Is It Spread
Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests fecal mattereven in microscopic amountsfrom contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.
- Birth to an infected mother
- Sex with an infected person
- Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles, syringes, and even medical equipment, such as glucose monitors
- Sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors
- Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus even in microscopic amounts enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted from:
- Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles and syringes
- Receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
- Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
- Birth to an infected mother
Also Check: Hepatitis C Reactive Test Results
What To Do If You Have Hepatitis C
If youre living with hepatitis C, you certainly dont want to pass it to anyone else.
Because the virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, here are some of the things you can do to prevent spreading it:
- Never share needles or other injection equipment. If you use IV drugs, ask your doctor about substance abuse treatment programs.
- Always use bandages to cover up cuts and scratches.
- Be very careful when disposing of items that may have blood on them. These may include bandages, tampons or other menstrual products, and tissues.
- Dont share personal items, such as your toothbrush, razor, or fingernail scissors, with anyone.
- Dont donate blood. Blood donations are tested for hepatitis C, so it will be discarded anyway.
- Always tell healthcare workers of your hepatitis C status.
- If you cut yourself, clean up the blood promptly and thoroughly using a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Carefully dispose of or disinfect anything that touched your blood.
- Inform your sex partner about your hepatitis C status. Using latex condoms will help lower the chance of spreading the virus.
A mother can pass the virus to her baby during childbirth, but the risk is less than 5 percent. Its more likely to happen if you also have HIV. If you think youve been exposed to the virus, ask your doctor if you should get tested.
Who Should Be Vaccinated
- All children aged 1223 months
- All children and adolescents 218 years of age who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine
People at increased risk for hepatitis A
- International travelers
- Men who have sex with men
- People who use or inject drugs
- People with occupational risk for exposure
- People who anticipate close personal contact with an international adoptee
- People experiencing homelessness
People at increased risk for severe disease from hepatitis A infection
- People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- People with HIV
Other people recommended for vaccination
- Pregnant women at risk for hepatitis A or risk for severe outcome from hepatitis A infection
Any person who requests vaccination
There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C.
Read Also: What Is Hepatitis B And What Causes It
If You Have Hepatitis C When Should You Tell The Person Youre Dating
Thats entirely up to you and the pace of your relationship. For some people, dating will come before sex. However, if you find yourself ready to have sex with a new person, you should be open and honest about your diagnosis.
Transmitting HCV through unprotected sex is rare but it can happen. Using a condom or other form of protection will greatly decrease your risk of spreading the virus. Ultimately, its important to be honest.
How Can Hepatitis A B Or C Be Treated
Most cases of hepatitis A will resolve spontaneously within two months. More severe liver complications will be observed in less than 1% of cases. Therefore, no treatment is necessary except in some acute cases where support and comfort measures can be used to alleviate situations such as fluid loss due to vomiting or diarrhea. In addition to rest, a healthy diet and the avoidance of substances toxic to the liver such as alcohol and certain drugs are indicated. Resolution of the infection will be accompanied by the production of antibodies against hepatitis A, which will confer lifelong immunity against subsequent infections by the virus. Immunization with a potent hepatitis A vaccine constitutes the best preventive measure, particularly for children and travellers.
The production of antibodies against the hepatitis C virus will help clear the virus within six months. But contrary to hepatitis A or B, these antibodies will not confer lifelong immunity against re-infection. Cases of hepatitis C also tend to develop in chronic infections much more often than with hepatitis A or B. Chronic hepatitis C cases can degenerate and cause serious liver complications such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. Some of these cases can only be cured by a liver transplant. As with chronic hepatitis B treatment, the use of interferon and other antiviral drugs constitutes the basis of chronic hepatitis C treatment.
Need more information?
Read Also: How Often Do You Need Hepatitis B Vaccine
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.
How Are Hepatitis A B And C Transmitted
Hepatitis A is present in the stool of an infected individual. Infected stools can contaminate water, food and various objects. The virus is transmitted by:
- consuming contaminated water or food
- touching contaminated objects
- preparing or consuming drugs under unsanitary conditions
Hepatitis B is transmitted mainly through:
- unprotected sexual intercourse
- other bodily fluids
Mothers can pass the virus on to their babies during pregnancy and delivery.
The main means of transmission of hepatitis C is through blood. It is passed on by:
- sharing drug or steroid injection equipment
- receiving blood, blood products or immunoglobulin
- getting tattoos, piercings or acupuncture with non-sterile equipment
- sharing razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, etc.
The C virus can also be contracted during sexual intercourse with an infected person. Mothers can pass the virus on to their babies during delivery.
You May Like: How Can You Catch Hepatitis
How Is The Virus Spread
Like hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus is spread when blood of an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected, such as through sharing needles or “works” when shooting drugs or occupational needle stick injury. The risk of sexual transmission has not been thoroughly studied but appears to be low in long-term, monogamous relationships. There is no evidence that the hepatitis C virus can be transmitted by casual contact such as hugging or shaking hands, through foods, by sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, or by coughing or sneezing. Hepatitis C is not spread by breastmilk.
What Is The Outlook
Most people with hepatitis A recover without any complications. Once youve had hepatitis A, you cant get it again. Antibodies to the virus will protect you for life.
Some people may be at an increased risk for serious illness from hepatitis A. These include:
acute hepatitis B infections in the United States in 2018.
Also Check: Hepatitis Is An Inflammation Of The Liver
Is It Possible To Maintain A Relationship During Your Hepatitis C Treatment
Yes, you can maintain a relationship during your HCV treatment. Its important to remember that treatments come with side effects. These side effects may leave you exhausted or sick. Date as you feel up to it. Be honest with your partner about your energy levels and why they may fluctuate.
Also, as the infection progresses, the damage to your liver may cause serious complications. These, too, can impact your quality of life. Its important to pace yourself and try not to exert all your energy at once. You may end up feeling worse and have a difficult time rebounding.
How Is Hepatitis A B Or C Diagnosed
Acute cases of hepatitis A, B and C are usually diagnosed based on history, symptoms, lab tests indicating a liver disease, or blood that tests positive for either an antigen associated with the virus or antibodies produced by the body against each virus. In normal individuals, testing for antibodies is particularly useful for identifying whether a person is protected against the hepatitis A or B virus. In chronic hepatitis B and C cases, measurement of the total amount of viral nucleic acid in a blood sample can give an evaluation of the virus load affecting the body.
Also Check: How Does Hepatitis A Affect The Body
What Happens If You Dont Tell Your Partner You Have Hepatitis C
Your partner may respond with a range of emotions if you dont tell them and they find out. You also risk transmitting HCV and having the infection spread to other people.
Since the immediate risk of transmitting HCV is low, you could have a relationship without your partner knowing about your condition. However, its always better to be honest than to hide something that could seriously damage your relationship in the future.
How Can The Spread Of Hepatitis C Be Prevented
People who have had hepatitis C should remain aware that their blood is potentially infectious.
- Do not shoot drugs if you shoot drugs, stop and get into a treatment program if you can’t stop, never share needles, syringes, water or “works”, and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
- Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them .
- If you are a health care or public safety worker, always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
- Consider the risks if you are thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing. You might get infected if the tools have someone else’s blood on them or if the artist or piercer does not follow good health practices.
- HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare. If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. You should also get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
- If you are infected with HCV, do not donate blood, organs or tissue.
You May Like: Is Hepatitis A Sexually Transmitted Disease
What Is Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
What Is The Treatment For Hepatitis C
Drugs are licensed for treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C. Combination drug therapy, using pegylated interferon and ribavirin, can get rid of the virus in up to five out of ten of persons with genotype 1, the most common genotype in the U.S. and eight out of ten persons with genotype 2 or 3. It is important to know that not everyone will need treatment. The decision to treat hepatitis C is complex and is best made by a physician experienced in treating the disease.
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis B How Many Doses
Encouraging Others To Get Tested For Hepatitis C
While the odds of passing on the hepatitis C virus are low, you should still tell anyone at risk that you have hepatitis C. You should tell sexual partners, spouses, and family members. Your infection may be difficult to discuss, but anyone at potential risk must know. That way, they can get tested and treated if needed. Read more on why you should get tested for hepatitis C.
Paul Berk, MD, professor of medicine and emeritus chief of the division of liver disease, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City chairman of the board, American Liver Foundation.
Alan Franciscus, executive director, Hepatitis C Support Project and editor-in-chief of HCV Advocate, San Francisco.
Thelma King Thiel, chair and CEO, Hepatitis Foundation International.
David Thomas, MD, professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Howard J. Worman, MD, associate professor of medicine and anatomy and cell biology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York City.
The American Gastroenterological Association.