What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. In addition, hepatitis can be spread through sexual contact. There are five types of hepatitis –– A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C can be spread through sexual acts. Hepatitis is a common disease. The CDC estimates that in 2017 over two million people had hepatitis C and over 800,000 had hepatitis B in the U.S.
Testing for Hepatitis
Medical professionals typically diagnose patients with hepatitis after a physical examination and a blood test. Like several other STDs, hepatitis does require a blood test to definitively identify. Modern blood tests are painless and take only a few minutes to complete. Hepatitis blood test results may take a few days or a few weeks to come back –– depending on the nature of the disease as well as other factors. At Same Day, we deliver confidential test results to our patients through emails, phone calls, or by mailing the results according to their preference.
Some individuals with hepatitis may not notice any symptoms. However, many others will experience symptoms as a result of the disease, including:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Weight loss
- Jaundiced (yellowed) skin
Hepatitis B and C can become chronic and lead to serious health issues like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis B virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis B spreads through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Hepatitis B transmission can happen through sexual contact with an infected person, or by sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. Hepatitis B can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth.
Hepatitis B can be either acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis B virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis B virus. Acute infection can — but does not always — lead to chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis B virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis B virus remains in a person’s body. Chronic hepatitis B is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, even death.
The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness that lasts a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Rough sex that draws blood can also cause hepatitis C transmission. Hepatitis C can also be spread from mother to child through birth.
Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic.” Acute hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, or even death.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease –– especially injection-drug use.
Hepatitis Prevention & Treatment
As mentioned above, avoiding certain high-risk behaviors is the surest way to protect yourself from hepatitis. Practicing safe sex, not sharing needles, and getting tested regularly can help you ensure your well-being and prevent the spread of STDs. In addition, sexually active individuals should get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.
Acute hepatitis cases require supportive treatment, and many chronic cases can be managed effectively. According to the CDC, over 90% of people infected with hepatitis C can be cured of the infection with 8-12 weeks of oral therapy.
Chronic cases of hepatitis B can be managed, but they cannot be cured.
As with any other STD, the key to mitigating the effects of hepatitis is to detect it as early as possible.
If you have additional questions, or you would like to schedule a test, please contact us. Calls are always confidential.
Call us now at (844) 394-8520 and get tested today!