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.
What Is The Treatment For Hepatitis
Each type of hepatitis is treated differently.
Hepatitis A often goes away on its own and home treatment is all that is needed to help the liver recover, such as:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding certain medicines that can be harmful to the liver
Hepatitis B often goes away on its own in about 6 months, and can also be treated at home with the above remedies. Other treatments for hepatitis B include:
- Antiviral medications
- Liver transplant in severe cases
Treatment for hepatitis C is effective on certain forms of the hepatitis C virus. The choice of medications depends on the type of hepatitis C you have, whether you have been treated for the illness before, how much liver damage has occurred, any other underlying medical issues, and other medicines you take. Treatment for hepatitis C usually involves 8 to 12 weeks of oral antiviral medications, such as:
General Tips For Prevention
Refrain from engaging in IV drug use and be cautious with all procedures that involve needles.
For example, you shouldnt share needles used for tattooing, piercing, or acupuncture. The equipment should always be carefully sterilized for safety. If youre undergoing any of these procedures in another country, always make sure the equipment is sterilized.
Sterile equipment should also be used in a medical or dental setting.
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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.
Epidemiology Of Sexually Transmitted Hcv
2.1.1. Trends in HCV infections in HIVpositive and negative MSM
2.1.2. Molecular epidemiology
Molecular epidemiology is increasingly used to identify clusters and transmission pathways in rapidly evolving pathogens such as HIV and HCV. The main aim of these molecular approaches was to aid the public health response by identifying factors of the epidemic, such as hotspots or emerging clusters, otherwise missed.
2.1.3. Risk factors for acquiring sexually transmitted HCV
Finally, studies consistently show that biological factors might play a role: confection with STI, HIV1 infection in itself, a lower CD4 cell count and higher HIV RNA levels are associated with an increased risk of incident HCV infection , , , . These factors might affect the mucosal microenvironment and activate specific immune cells within mucosal tissues, which would allow HCV entry and retention.
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How Hbv Is Spread
It is possible for the hepatitis B virus to be spread through the bodily fluids of an infected person, which is to say that the virus can be transmitted through the blood, sweat, tears, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, menstrual blood, and breast milk of an infected person. That said, having hepatitis B does not necessarily mean that you are infectious only some people with HBV are actually contagious.
Opportunities for exposure can include sharing a syringe or getting tattoos or body piercings with infected tools. But it also means that it is possible to be exposed during childbirth as well as sexual contact and intercourse. In fact, nearly two-thirds of acute cases of hepatitis B in the United States are caused by sexual exposure.
Though HBV can be spread through blood, there is generally very little risk of contracting the virus through blood transfusions as most countries began screening for it by 1975.
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Is Hepatitis A Sexually Transmitted Disease
Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is board-certified in gastroentrology. He is the vice chair for ambulatory services for the department of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where he is also a professor. He was the founding editor and co-editor in chief of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Some types of viral hepatitis can be transmitted through sexual contact, in addition to being transmitted via other routes. Each type of hepatitis virus has a different risk of being transmitted through sex.
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Can Hep C Be Transmitted Sexually
Responsible, sexually active people are educating themselves on safe sex, and this education includes learning about Hepatitis Cs potential for transmission during sexual contact. Creating confusion and instilling mystery, conflicting reports about whether this virus is contracted sexually continues to circulate throughout our society. Although not exclusively considered a sexually transmitted disease, the Hepatitis C virus has the potential to be spread through sexual contact.
How Is Hepatitis C Passed
Hepatitis C is generally passed by direct blood-to-blood contact. This occurs when a persons blood is exposed to the blood of someone with hepatitis C infection through a break or tear in the skin or mucous membranes. In Canada, the most common way a person gets hepatitis C is through sharing injection drug use equipment.7 Hepatitis C can also be passed through sharing equipment for smoking drugs, such as pipes and mouthpieces,8 and it can potentially be passed through sharing straws for snorting drugs.9
Although hepatitis C is not as easily transmitted through sex as HIV and hepatitis B,10 hepatitis C can enter the body through the rectal mucous membranes during sex. The hepatitis C virus is thought to enter the body through a tear in the mucous membrane of the rectum or by a sore caused by an ulcerative STI, such as syphilis. The virus can be passed into the rectum via a penis, hand or sex toy that has blood with hepatitis C on it.6 There is also evidence of high enough volumes of hepatitis C virus in the semen11 and rectal fluid12 of some gbMSM living with HIV to pass hepatitis C. .
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What Can I Do If I Think I Have Hepatitis C
A doctor or sexual health clinician can test you to see if you have hepatitis C. If you do, effective treatment with fewer side effects than the older medicine is available and you can discuss how to avoid infecting your sexual partners or people you live with.
It can take three to six months before the blood test for hepatitis C will be able to detect signs of infection in your blood. For people with HIV who may be immunocompromised, the antibody may not be detectable and it may be necessary to request an RNA test which detects the virus.
Whos At Risk For Hepatitis C
You might be more likely to get it if you:
- Inject or have injected street drugs
- Were born between 1945 and 1965
- Got clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
- Received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplants before July 1992
- Got blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for hepatitis C
- Are on dialysis
- Get a body piercing or tattoo with nonsterile instruments
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Hepatitis Testing And Treatment
The good news for sexually active individuals in regard to hepatitis is that its possible to protect both yourself and your partner through simple means. Getting vaccinated for hepatitis A, B, and D will greatly lower the risks associated with spreading hepatitis through sexual contact. Furthermore, seeking out regular STD tests particularly when you begin seeing a new partner can help you stay on top of your sexual wellness and mitigate the effects of many STD-related issues.
Could I Give It To Other People
Yes. As long as you carry the virus, you can infect others. You may pass it on to your sex partner, to those who live in close contact with you, and to those who share your needles for injecting drugs. All of these contacts should be examined by a doctor. If they are not yet infected, they should be vaccinated.
Pregnant women who are carriers may pass hepatitis B on to their babies around the time of birth. Most infected infants become carriers. A pregnant woman should have a test for hepatitis B at her first visit to a doctor. If she is a carrier, the infant can be vaccinated at birth to protect against infection.
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Why Should I Get Treated
Hepatitis C can be fatal when left untreated.
Untreated hepatitis C can lead to scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis.
A small number of people with cirrhosis will go on to get liver failure, the only treatment for which is a liver transplant. A small proportion of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer.
What To Know About Hepatitis C During Oral And Anal Sex
Oral sex does not pose an increased risk of transmitting the hepatitis C virus, according to the American Liver Foundation, unless there are open sores or cuts in the mouth. To be safe, however, the CDC recommends using a new latex condom whenever you have oral sex to reduce the risk of transmitting hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections like HIV.
Anal sex is high-risk, though, because rectal tissue is fragile and can easily tear when manipulated or pushed to expand. If the tissue tears and bleeds, theres a chance for blood-to-blood contact. For this reason, its best to always use a condom during anal sex. Its also important to liberally apply water- or silicone-based lubricant to keep anal tissue and condoms from tearing.
If you use sex toys, it may be safest to avoid sharing them. If youre engaging in rough sex that results in skin tears, even tiny traces of infected blood that remain on a toy can pass through openings in the skin although the risk of spreading bloodborne diseases remains very low. Whats more, the human papilloma virus has been transmitted via sex toys, even after cleaning.
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Safer Sex Screening Treatment
Drs. Nelson and Bhagani both believe that people with HIV can best protect themselves from acquiring HCV sexually by continuing to practice protected anal intercourse, rimming and fisting. “Like everything, you’re better off not getting it, and since there is no vaccine available, taking precautions is the only way,” says Dr. Nelson.
They also strongly suggest that yearly screening for HCV should become the norm in all U.K. HIV clinics. “The first thing we really need to know in this country is what is the true prevalence of HCV in the HIV population,” continues Dr. Nelson. “It is clearly something that people who have got HIV have put themselves at risk of. We need to make sure that everyone is screened for HCV. The advantage of picking it up early means you are much more likely to eradicate it.”
Other Sexual Practices And Risk Factors
Other sexual practices that increase the risk of hepatitis C transmission include:
- sharing sex toys that have been used anally or during menstruation
- fingering, which can cause bleeding
- fisting, which can cause bleeding
The risk of hepatitis C transmission is also higher among people with HIV. This is because HIV weakens the immune system, which can raise the risk of contracting viral infections and other illnesses.
2.4 million people in the United States live with hepatitis C, according to 2016 estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Understanding how the virus is transmitted and taking protective measures can help protect you and your sexual partners from hepatitis C.
To reduce the risk of transmission during sex:
- Follow your doctors recommendations for STI testing. Talk with them about your sexual habits and other risk factors. Ask them if you should get tested for hepatitis C or other sexually transmitted infections .
- Talk with sexual partners about their STI status. Ask them if theyve been tested since their last sexual relationship.
- Get treatment forSTIs. Ask your doctor about treatment options if you test positive for hepatitis C or other STIs.
- Use barrier methods like condoms during sex. This is particularly important if you have multiple sexual partners or youre having anal sex, rough vaginal sex, or sex during menstruation when you or your partner may have hepatitis C.
Other ways to prevent hepatitis C:
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How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. In addition to the 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, as of 2017, there is a 2-dose series given over 1 month.
Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or postexposure prophylaxis is available. The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to never inject drugs or to stop injecting drugs by getting into and staying in drug treatment. If you continue injecting drugs, always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- See your healthcare provider regularly.
- Follow your providers instructions for taking medicine for your symptoms. You need to avoid taking medicines that can damage the liver more . Ask your provider which medicines you can safely take for your symptoms, such as itching and nausea.
- Follow your providers advice for how much rest you need and when you can go back to your normal activities, including work or school. As your symptoms get better, you may slowly start being more active. It is best to avoid too much physical exertion until your provider says its OK.
- Eat small, high-protein, high-calorie meals, even when you feel nauseated. Sipping soft drinks or juices, and sucking on hard candy may help you feel less nauseated.
- Dont drink alcohol unless your healthcare provider says it is safe.
- Contact your healthcare provider if: Your appetite keeps getting worse.
- You are getting more and more tired.
- You have vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
- Your skin gets yellowish.
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Effective Treatments Are Available For Hepatitis C
New medication to treat for HCV have been approved in recent years. These treatments are much better than the previously available treatment because they have few side effects and do not need to be injected. There are several direct-acting antiviral HCV treatments that cure more than 95% of people who take them in 8 to 12 weeks. HCV treatment dramatically reduces deaths among people with HCV infection, and people who are cured of HCV are much less likely to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Take Action! CDCs National Prevention Information Network Service Locator helps consumers locate hepatitis B and hepatitis C prevention, care, and treatment services.
Can You Contract Hepatitis C From Saliva
Nope! Finally, an easy question to answer. You cant contract hep C from kissing a person whos contracted the virus. Youre also in the clear if you want to share food or take a sip of their iced coffee.
But you probably shouldnt share a toothbrush with a person whos contracted hep C. You wont contract hep C from any spit on that shared toothbrush. But if someone living with hep C is experiencing bleeding gums, and that blood gets on the toothbrush you use for your mouth, you may contract the virus too.
Also, just dont share toothbrushes. No couple needs to be that close.
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Tips For Safe Sex With Hepatitis
When its time, find a private place where you can talk to your partner without interruption.