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How do you catch hepatitus?

Updated: 9/17/2023
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12y ago

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Hepatitis AThe hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through the feces (poop) of infected individuals. People usually get hepatitis A by eating food or drinking water that's been contaminated with feces. As disgusting as that sounds though, hepatitis A is actually considered less destructive than some other hepatitis viruses.

Unlike some other hepatitis viruses, hepatitis A rarely leads to permanent liver damage. Within a few weeks, the symptoms will have gone away on their own and the virus will no longer be in your system. Once someone has recovered from a hepatitis A infection, that person has immunity to the virus, meaning he or she will probably never get it again. People are also protected against hepatitis A if they've been vaccinated for it.

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Hepatitis BHepatitis B is a more serious infection. It may lead to a condition called cirrhosis (permanent scarring of the liver) or liver cancer, both of which cause severe illness and even death. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted from person to person through blood or other body fluids.

This can happen in the following ways:

1 unprotected sex

2 sharing contaminated needles

3 using non-sterilised equipment for tattooing or body piercing or acupuncture

4 blood transfusion using non-screened blood

5 from infected mother to baby.

NB It is not spread through coughing, sneezing or from faeces.

In the United States, the most common way people get infected with HBV is through unprotected sex with a person who has the disease. People who share needles also are at risk of becoming infected because it's likely that the needles they use will not have been sterilized.

As yet, there's no effective cure for hepatitis B. In most cases, teens who get hepatitis B will recover from the disease and may develop a natural immunity to future hepatitis B infections. But some people will have the condition forever. Medications can help some people with hepatitis B get rid of the virus.

Hepatitis CThe hepatitis C virus (HCV) is transmitted from person to person through blood or other body fluids. Like hepatitis B, hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Hepatitis C is the most serious type of hepatitis. It's now one of the most common reasons for liver transplants in adults. Every year, thousands of people in the United States die from HCV. And there's no cure and no vaccine.

An estimated 4.1 million Americans are currently infected with the virus. The most common way people become infected is through sharing drug paraphernalia such as needles and straws. People also get hepatitis C after having unprotected sex with an infected partner. Before 1990, many people got it through blood transfusions, but better blood screening and handling procedures now mean that this rarely happens.

The medications currently used to treat hepatitis C are effective in controlling the disease in some people. However, hepatitis C treatments are not very easy to take, especially because some require frequent injections.

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Q: How do you catch hepatitus?
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