Hepatitis is a serious virus that can attack the liver. There are 5 types of hepatitis. The most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
How do I get Hepatitis?
- Household contact with a person with hepatitis A
- Contact with blood (like sharing needles or other injecting equipment)
- Contact with feces (poop) of infected person (by eating or drinking something infected with feces of someone who has the disease, by oral to anal contact, or by handling a condom after anal sex)
- Coming into contact with blood of an infected person
- Having sex with infected person
- Sharing injection drug needles or others items used to shoot up drugs (works, cotton, cookers, etc.)
- Coming into contact with blood of infected person (for example: Using a razor with blood on it, or sharing needles when injecting drugs
- You can also get hepatitis C from sex with an infected partner, but sex is not a common way to get hepatitis C
What does hepatitis do to my body?
Hepatitis can cause a number of problems, including: yellow eyes and skin, stomach pain or swelling, muscle weakness, joint pain, rashes, nausea or vomiting, dark urine (pee), loss of appetite, fever, and tiredness.
Sometimes there are no signs at first. It is very important to get tested to see if you have hepatitis.
Is there a cure for hepatitis?
No. There is no cure, but there are medicines to treat hepatitis. There are also vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B that will prevent the disease. Ask your healthcare provider about them.
How do I find out if I have hepatitis?
Ask your doctor for a hepatitis test. If you don’t have a regualr doctor or other healthcare provider, you can search for a clinic in your area that offers testing.
How can I reduce my risk of getting hepatitis?
There are a lot of ways to reduce your risk for getting an STI, including hepatitis. Here are some specific tips to reduce your risk for hepatitis:
- Don’t have sex. Vaginal, anal or oral sex can pass hepatitis.
- Use condoms. If you do decide to have sex, use latex condoms or other barriers (dams, plastic wrap etc) if you do have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
- Always wash your hands after going to the bathrooom or changing a baby’s diaper.
- Don’t share injection drug needles. If you do inject drugs, make sure you use only clean needles, syringes and other works. Never share needles, syringes and other works. And get tested for HIV every year
Tattoos and Body Piercing
Hepatitis B and C transmission can occur if a tattoo artist or body piercer uses an unsterilized (unclean) needle used on someone else that has hepatitis B or C to pierce or tattoo a person or uses other equipment that is unclean. Before getting a tattoo or piercing, check out the place, ask some questions.
- Is the place clean & professional looking?
- Does the artist or piercer wash his/her hands and wear latex gloves when tattooing or body piercing?
- Does the artist or piercer use sterile, disposable needles that he/she opens in front of the customers?
- Does the artist or piercer throw away ink caps, razors and stencils after each use?
- Does the artist or piercer use an autoclave (an intense heating process) to sterilize (clean) equipment? If they do, ask if the autoclave gets inspected monthly?
- Does the artist or piercer sterilize the bottles used for color and/or the work area with bleach or other approved disinfectants?
- Does the artist or piercer uses an ultrasonic tank to rinse the tube and needle set from the tattoo machines?