Hepatitis Information

Hepatitis A:

Source of the virus:

Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) is found in the stool (feces) of persons with hepatitis A.

Transmission:

HAV is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it may look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A.

Prevention:

Hepatitis A vaccine is the best protection.

Short-term protection against hepatitis A is available from immune globulin. It can be given before and within 2 weeks after coming in contact with HAV.

Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing and eating food.

Hepatitis B:

Source of the virus:

Occurs when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected.

Transmission:

Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is spread through:

  • Having sex with an infected person without using a condom (the efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission),
  • By sharing drugs, needles, or “works” when “shooting” drugs,
  • Through needle sticks or sharps exposures on the job,
  • Or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

Prevention:

Hepatitis B vaccine is the best protection.

If you are having sex, but not with one steady partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time you have sex. The efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission.

Hepatitis C:

Source of the virus:

Occurs when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected.

Transmission:

Hepatitis C (HCV) is spread through sharing needles or “works” when “shooting” drugs, through needle sticks or sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

Prevention:

There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C.

  • 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 & B.
  • Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes).
  • 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.

For more information on hepatitis education and prevention, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/.

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The mission of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation is to cultivate a healthy and stigma-free society through transformative action.