Viral hepatitis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by hepatitis virus that mainly attack and cause liver inflammation. There are several types of viruses known to cause hepatitis but there are only three types of viruses responsible for causing most hepatitis infections and these include Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV), and Hepatitis C (HCV).
Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) can be transmitted through sexual contact including oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex. Hepatitis B is transmitted more frequently during sexual contact than Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) are also transmitted through sharing of contaminated needles and contaminated blood transfusion. Infected mother with Hepatitis B can transmit the virus to the newborn.
Hepatitis A (HAV) is mainly transmitted through contaminated food or water. Individuals with Hepatitis A (HAV) can transmit the virus when handling food or water if the contaminated hands are not washed properly after bowel movement. Hepatitis A can be transmitted from deep kissing that involved exchanging saliva fluid. Hepatitis A is rarely transmitted through sexual contact.
Depending on the types of viral hepatitis infection, symptoms may appear between 2 weeks to 6 months after infection but some people may not experience any symptoms. When symptoms do occur some people may experience stomach pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, high fever, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Other symptoms of viral hepatitis may also include dark urine and jaundice (yellow appearance of skin and eyes). Individuals with Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) have increase risk of developing cirrhosis, liver disease, and liver cancer.
At the time of this writing, there is no medical cure for Hepatitis A (HAV). Hepatitis A usually causes acute infection (short-term infection). Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infection (long-term infection). Most people with acute Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B infection require rest and plenty of fluid to recover completely without any treatments.
Chronic Hepatitis B infection can be treated with antiviral interferon, adefovir, entecavir, and lamivudine to control the disease. Chronic Hepatitis C infection can be treated with antiviral interferon and ribavirin to control the disease. Individuals with chronic infection should avoid consuming alcohol because alcohol increases toxicity in the liver.
Vaccines against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B infections are available and you get immunized for life. However, there is no vaccine that prevents Hepatitis C infection. People with high risk of getting infected with Hepatitis A (HAV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) should take the vaccines to get immunized. Those who are infected with Hepatitis C should also get immunized against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B to lower the risk of severe hepatitis.
Infected mother with Hepatitis B can transmit
the virus to the newborn during childbirth. Infected newborn can be
treated with Hepatitis B vaccine to prevent the development of acute or
chronic infection. Infected newborn treated with the vaccine should be
tested properly to be certain the infant is protected from the virus.
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