InformationWhat is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. The most common types in the United States are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can last from a few weeks to a number of months with mild to severe symptoms. Most people who seek treatment early recover without permanent liver damage.
Hepatitis B is an infectious liver disease that can last for a few weeks up to a lifetime. Chronic Hepatitis B can cause permanent liver damage.
Hepatitis C is an infectious liver disease that can last for a few weeks up to a lifetime. Chronic Hepatitis C can cause permanent liver damage.
What are the most common symptoms?
Hepatitis A - Some people who have contracted Hepatitis A may experience no symptoms. However, symptoms that usually develop include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, weakness, sensitivity to light, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain, and/or yellowing of the skin and eyes. It is possible to spread Hepatitis A even if no symptoms are present.
Hepatitis B - Most adults will develop symptoms from Hepatitis B that include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, weakness, sensitivity to light, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain, and/or yellowing of the skin and eyes. Symptoms typically develop on average of three months after exposure. It is possible to spread Hepatitis B even if no symptoms are present.
Hepatitis C - The majority of people with acute Hepatitis C will not develop symptoms. However, mild to severe symptoms may occur and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, weakness, sensitivity to light, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain, and/or yellowing of the skin and eyes. If symptoms occur, they typically develop on average a month and a half after exposure. It is possible to spread Hepatitis C even if no symptoms are present.
How long does it take to develop symptoms?
It may take anywhere from 1 - 6 months from the time of infection until symptoms of acute hepatitis to appear. Some infected individuals may not experience any symptoms until the infection becomes chronic.
How do people get Hepatitis?
Hepatitis A - Is transmitted by ingesting food or beverages contaminated with feces of an infected person, handling objects contaminated with feces of an infected person, or ingesting polluted water. It can however be transmitted through sexual activities that involve the mouth and anus.
Hepatitis B - Is generally transmitted through the transfer of blood, bodily fluids, and feces. Sexual contact is the most common cause for transmission of Hepatitis B. Transmission can also occur through sharing needles or personal hygiene items with an infected person. An infected pregnant woman can transmit the disease to her unborn child.
Hepatitis C - Is transmitted through the transfer of blood. People usually become infected by sharing needles. An infected pregnant woman can transmit the disease to her unborn baby, Even though it occurs less frequently, people may also become infected through sexual contact with an infected individual or by sharing personal hygiene items that have come into contact with an infected personís blood.
What is a Hepatitis Test?
A Hepatitis Test will require a blood sample be taken.
Do you offer a Home Test for Hepatitis A, B or C?
Yes, we currently offer a home test through our partner site for Hepatitis C under "At Home Tests".
Is testing accurate?
Our contracted laboratory uses the same type of STD tests that you would receive at many doctorís offices and hospitals. However, there is always a remote chance of a false positive or a false negative result.
A false positive result means the test shows the infection to be present when the person does not have the infection.
A false negative result means the test shows no sign of infection when the person does have an infection. False negative results can happen if the test is done within the window period (period of time between the day you are infected and when a test can find the infection in your body). The window period for Hepatitis A is usually 15 to 50 days. The window period for Hepatitis B is usually 45 days to 6 months, with an average of 60 to 90 days. The window period for Hepatitis C is usually 2 weeks to 6 months, with an average of 6 to 9 weeks.
TreatmentIs Hepatitis curable or treatable?
Hepatitis A will generally resolve on its own without treatment. Symptoms generally last two months or less and most will recover completely with no lasting liver damage. Some people, however, may require medical attention to insure complete recovery so it is recommended that, if positive, you should see a healthcare provider.
Hepatitis B may resolve without treatment, but the majority of infected individuals will become Chronic Hepatitis B carriers. If Hepatitis B remains in a personís body for six months or more then it is considered Chronic Hepatitis B and can cause reoccurring symptoms throughout oneís lifetime. Chronic Hepatitis B is associated with cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer, and death. Treatment for Hepatitis B may include interferon and antiviral medications.
Hepatitis C usually goes undetected until liver problems have developed. Hepatitis C generally does not resolve on its own and develops into Chronic Hepatitis C. Chronic Hepatitis C can cause reoccurring symptoms throughout one's lifetime and is associated with cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer, and death. Treatment may include interferon and ribavirin.
PreventionHow can Hepatitis be prevented?
Vaccines are readily available and are very effective for preventing infection from Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is to avoid contact with the blood of infected people. To reduce the risk of contracting Hepatitis from sexual activity, use latex condoms consistently and correctly. Getting tested and treatment early is the best way to prevent the transmission of Hepatitis.