Hepatitis A (HAV)

Menstuff® has compiled information Hepatitis A.

What is hepatitis A?
How common is hepatitis A?
How can I get hepatitis A?
What are the signs or symptoms of hepatitis A?
How can I find out if I have hepatitis A?
What can I do to reduce my risk of getting hepatitis A?
What is the treatment for hepatitis A?
Why worry about hepatitis A?
Do I need to talk to my partner about hepatitis A?
Should I talk to my health care provider about hepatitis A?
Where can I get more information?
Resources
Free or Low-Cost Hepatitis Clinic Near You
- www.hepclinics.com
Related issues:
AIDS, Bacterial Vaginosis, Blue Balls, Chancroid, Chlamydia, Condoms, Contraception, Crabs, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, Impotency, Nongonococcal Urethritis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Reproduction, STDS, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Yeast Infection

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus.

How common is hepatitis A?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated there are between 125,000 and 200,000 total infections per year in the United States. It is estimated that 84,000 to 134,000 of the total infections will be with symptoms of hepatitis A. Each year, approximately 100 people will die because of hepatitis A.

How can I get hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A (HAV) is transmitted primarily through oral contact with feces (oral-fecal contact). This includes contaminated food or water sources and sexual contact, especially oral-anal sex.

HAV has on rare occasions been transmitted by blood. The presence of virus in the blood occurs with the onset of infection and is thought to be short-lived.

What are the signs or symptoms of hepatitis A?

Most adults infected with HAV usually do develop some symptoms. Symptoms may develop about 15-50 after exposure; the average is 28 days. These may include:

How can I find out if I have hepatitis A?

There are currently two blood tests available to detect HAV.

Antibodies may be detected for up to six months following the onset of symptoms. HAV antibodies usually disappear after this time unless re-infection occurs.

Talk to your health care provider for more information about HAV testing.

What can I do to reduce my risk of getting hepatitis A?

HAV is preventable by vaccination. This two-dose series given at least six months apart, provides pre-exposure protection from HAV infection in children aged 2 years or older and in adults. Vaccination against HAV is recommended for those who are at risk of infection, including:

Always check with your health care provider for information about booster doses of HAV vaccine.

Immune Globulin (IG): Immune globulins are sterile solutions of antibodies made from human plasma. They are important tools in preventing illness.

People who have been exposed to hepatitis A may talk with their health care provider about a post-exposure immune globulin (IG) injection.

The dose of IG, if given within 14 days after contact with HAV, may prevent illness from occurring. In some cases, the hepatitis A IG may also be given before a possible exposure.

What is the treatment for hepatitis A?

There is no accepted treatment for HAV. Supportive care is recommended, usually guided by symptoms.

Why worry about hepatitis A?

Fortunately, complications from HAV are rare, and few deaths result from it. It is not known to cause chronic infections. However, it can make some people very sick, and it is easily preventable.

Do I need to talk to my partner about hepatitis A?

As part of good partner communication, deciding to use latex condoms and moisture barriers during sex helps reduce the risk of transmitting a sexually transmitted disease. HAV can be transmitted through oral-anal sex so it is recommended to always use safer sex methods to reduce the risk of transmission.

Should I talk to my health care provider about hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is preventable through vaccination, and it is recommended that you talk to your health care provider about whether you should be vaccinated.

More information

If you have additional questions about hepatitis A, call the National STD and AIDS Hotlines at 1-800-342-2437 or 1-800-227-8922. The hotlines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For information in Spanish call 1-800-344-7432, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time, seven days a week. For the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing call 1-800-243-7889, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. The hotlines provide referrals and more answers to your questions. www.ashastd.org/stdfaqs/hepa.html  

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