Hepatitis A

Description

A virus which causes inflammation of your liver.

Symptoms

Symptoms may appear 2-4 weeks after exposure, and resemble a mild flu like illness, accompanied by vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). Some people have no symptoms.

Prevention

There’s an effective Hep A vaccine, and a Hep A and B combo vaccine. Hep A is transmitted by small particles of infected shit entering your mouth through assplay and rimming. Using dams, and washing your hands after sex with an infected person, can help reduce the risk. It can also be passed on through using eating and drinking utensils handled by an infected person, or by infected food.

Treatment

There’s no effective medication for Hep A. Getting proper rest and nutrition, reducing alcohol consumption, and avoiding medications toxic to the liver such as acetaminophen are important. Most people who get Hep A will recover and develop an immunity to the virus.

What else you should know

The liver processes medications, so Hep A could affect a person’s ability to metabolize medications. This could especially impact HIV+ people.

Hepatitis B

Description

A virus which causes inflammation of your liver.

Symptoms

Symptoms may occur 1-6 months after exposure, and include loss of appetite, tiredness, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). Some people have no symptoms.

Prevention

There’s an effective Hep B vaccine, and a Hep A and B combo vaccine. Hep B is transmitted by infected blood or cum entering your bloodstream through activities like unprotected fucking, sharing infected injecting equipment, toothbrushes or razors, oral sex, and tattooing and body piercing with unsterilized equipment.

Treatment

With proper rest, nutrition and monitoring, many people recover from Hep B. Some retain the virus in their body. There are treatments available for those who become chronic carriers. These treatments are often difficult.

What else you should know

A compromised immune system, due to HIV for example, increases the likelihood of becoming a chronic carrier. Chronic Hep B can increase the risk of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C

Description

A virus that can cause serious damage to your liver.

Symptoms

Symptoms are similar to those of Hep A and Hep B, and may take between 6 weeks to 6 months to show up. Many people with Hep C never have symptoms until decades later.

Prevention

There’s no Hep C vaccine. The virus is spread by Hep C positive blood entering your bloodstream. If Hep C is transmitted during sexual activity, it’s likely that it would be through blood to blood contact. Transmission through sexual body fluids is thought to be very rare. If injecting drugs, avoid sharing any injecting equipment, including needles, spoons and tourniquets. Also avoid sharing straws to snort drugs.

Treatment

Regular injections which last for several months or pills are common treatments, but they don’t work for everybody.

What else you should know

Becoming a chronic carrier of Hep C is more likely than with Hep B. Being HIV+, or otherwise immune compromised, can increase the likelihood further. Chronic Hep C can increase the risk of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Be Prepared!

Think about taking antacids like Zantac, Pepcid, Tagamet or Prilosec before heading out to the club.

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