Hepatitis is basically inflammation of the liver. The liver is responsible for assisting with digestion of food, storing nutrients, helping your body detox and producing essential substances to help the cells in the body grow and reproduce. So, you can imagine that if a person’s liver is inflamed then their body doesn’t function 100%! There are 3 main types of hepatitis:
There are 6 different hepatitis viruses named Hep A, B, C, D, E and G – yes, they somehow missed F!
Alcoholic or other drug hepatitis
Caused by alcohol poisoning or high doses of drugs including prescription medication
Where a person’s immune system doesn’t work properly and causes their liver to become inflamed
You’ve probably heard more about Hep A, Hep B and Hep C. But which is which? Do you how they’re transmitted? Are you at risk of contracting it? We’re guessing you’re a little foggy so we’ve written a few facts about each of them to help answer your questions.
Is contagious and is transmitted via the faecal to oral route (i.e. getting bits of poo in the mouth). How do you protect yourself against it? Easy! Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 15 secs after going to the toilet, engaging in sexual contact or anything else where you may touch bits of poo. There is also a vaccine so if you had childhood vaccinations (remember those at school!?) you probably got vaccinated against it then. It’s also recommended if you’re planning on travelling overseas (particularly to developing countries).
Hep B is both a BBV (blood-borne virus) and an STI (sexually transmitted infection) and can be transmitted via blood-to-blood contact, through unprotected sex and through sharing of injecting, tattooing and piercing equipment. Hep B is also found in saliva, urine and other fluids including breast milk, but generally at low levels which usually do not cause transmission of the virus. So how do you protect yourself against it?
Hep C is a BBV (blood-borne virus) and is only transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. How to protect against it? Same as for Hep B – see above. There’s no vaccine for Hep C yet so being blood aware is vital to preventing infection. Treatment is provided free to Australian citizens and for many, it can be cured. Want to know more about Hep C? Visit Hepatitis WA’s website: http://www.hepatitiswa.com.au .
It’s important to know how to be blood aware and protect yourself and friends/partners against BBVs. Getting tested for BBVs is a key part of that. YEP Crew is based in W.A, so we recommend Hepatitis WA as a good starting point to find out more information. Visit their website here: http://hepatitiswa.com.au/ to find out more about the symptoms and treatments of the different types of hepatitis. For Hepatitis Councils in other states, look here: http://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/about-us/members.
Remember, be safe and don’t share blood (unless you donating via a blood bank – you’re not a vampire!
Also check the related topics:Types of STI’s Hepatitis C