How much do you know about Hepatitis A? Better2Know is here to give you all the information you need about this type of Hepatitis, including symptoms, treatment and how to test for the virus.
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus which is spread in the faeces of an infected person.
Most infections occur in parts of the world where sanitation and food standards are poor, however there is evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted sexually, particularly in anal-oral sex or sexual activities which involve touching the anus with a finger or tongue.
As with many sexually transmitted infections (STIs), not everyone with Hepatitis A will develop symptoms.
For those that do, symptoms develop on average around 4 weeks after becoming infected and can include tiredness, joint and muscle pain, a raised temperature, loss of appetite, feeling or being sick, yellowing of the skin or eyes due to jaundice, dark pee, pale faeces or itchy skin. Symptoms usually pass within a couple of months.
Currently there is no known cure for Hepatitis A, but most people with the infection make a full recovery in a few weeks.
There is a vaccine for Hepatitis A, however this is not routinely offered in the UK due to the risk of infection being low for most people and is only recommended for those groups most at risk.
Hepatitis A is an acute infection, which means it is not considered a long-term condition, so people usually recover from it quickly.
However, on rare occasions, it can cause life-threatening liver damage. If left untreated or unmonitored, this may develop into a more serious health problem. It can cause chronic inflammation of the liver and may lead to liver cancer.
As the immune system is fighting the infection, a person with Hepatitis A is at higher risk of contracting other infections including STIs and HIV. Therefore, taking appropriate precautions to protect against further infection is very important.
Although Hepatitis A is not usually serious, a simple blood test can confirm whether you have the infection and can also rule out more serious conditions such as Hepatitis C or Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
Better2Know’s Hepatitis Screen can test you for Hepatitis A, B and C. Find out more about the differences between Hepatitis A, B and C here.
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