HEPATITIS A-B-C

Hepatitis A, STIs, screening, STDs, sexually transmitted infections, jaundice, unsafe sex

Often without symptoms, GET DETECTED!

Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is usually transmitted through food (food or water contaminated with the virus). In some cases, it can be transmitted during certain sexual practices when there is faecal-oral contact (between the anus of a person with the virus and the mouths of their partners) direct or indirect The virus is transmitted during certain sexual practices when there is direct or indirect fecal-oral contact (between the anus of a person with the virus and the mouths of their partners): anilingus or finger in the anus followed by poor hand washing. However, HAV is not very common in Europe and therefore remains a rather rare STI in our countries, despite an epidemic recorded in Belgium in 2017 among men who have sex with men (MSM), a group particularly at risk.

Hepatitis A is a self-limiting disease with which one acquires immunity. In most healthy people, the body gets rid of HAV without medical treatment and the virus does not cause serious illness. Deaths from HAV are rare.

A vaccine against hepatitis A exists. It is especially recommended for people travelling to areas of the world where the virus is prevalent (Asia, Africa, South America (Asia, Africa, South America and to a lesser extent Eastern Europe), as well as men who have sex with men (MSM).

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Transmission modes

  • Contact between the mouth and faecal residue of an infected person
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Symptoms

Mostly without symptoms. In other cases : 

  • nausea
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • jaundice
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Consequences if undetected and untreated

In the majority of cases, there are no consequences because the hepatitis A virus clears itself (recovery).

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Screening

Only a blood test can detect HAV. 

Testing for hepatitis A can be done 6 weeks after infection, during which time you will not feel anything. It is done by adoctor by blood test.

The hepatitis A virus can also disappear on its own: you are then immune. If it does not disappear, you are a carrier and can transmit the virus. So remember to tell your partners to get tested and treated! 

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Treatment

Most healthy adults can eliminate the hepatitis A virus from their bodies without needing treatment. For those who cannot, there are treatments available to relieve the symptoms.

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Protection

There are several ways to protect yourself from hepatitis A:


Vaccination

A free and very effective vaccine is offered in Belgium at the same time as the other infant vaccines. Two injections guarantee lifelong immunity.

Adults can also be vaccinated afterwards with two injections, provided they have not previously been in contact with the virus.

More information on the hepatitis A vaccine at www.vaccination-info.be


Preventive measures

To minimize the risk of contamination :

  • Avoid contact between the mouth and faeces (use the latex square for anilingus).

Toothless, condom, latex, contraception, prevention, protect, STI, screening, STD, sexually transmitted infection, unsafe sex

Hepatitis B, STIs, screening, STDs, sexually transmitted infections, unsafe sex

Often without symptoms, GET DETECTED!

Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Today, hepatitis B is the second leading cause of cancer in the world, after tobacco.

In Belgium, less than 2% of the population is a carrier of the virus. Approximately 700,000 people have developed the disease and 70,000 of them are carriers of the virus: without knowing why, the virus can remain in the body of some people.

In our industrialised countries, transmission occurs mainly among young adults. Transmission is sexual in 40% of cases and is linked to intravenous drug use in 15-20% of cases.

Hepatitis B is an infection that can lead to serious complications. However, there is a very effective vaccine (between 3 and 4 injections are needed) to protect against it.

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Transmission modes

  • anal or vaginal penetration
  • oral sex
  • sharing injection equipment
  • exchange of saliva (kissing, sharing a glass, toothbrush, towels) in the period of primary infection
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Symptoms

Symptoms of hepatitis B usually appear 25 days to 6 months after infection and are often similar to those of influenza:

  • loss of appetite, nausea
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • great fatigue (most common symptom)
  • jaundice (in 30-50% of cases in adults, rare in children)

In almost half of the cases, hepatitis B infection remains silent and asymptomatic.

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Consequences if undetected and untreated

If Hepatitis B infection is not treated in time, serious complications can arise such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer, fulminant hepatitisthe last two of which can lead to death.

The hepatitis B and HIV co-infection is common and increases the risk of complications (cirrhosis, liver disease).

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Screening

Only a blood test can detect HBV. More than half of the people infected with HBV do not know that they have been infected.

Testing for hepatitis B can be done within 4-8 weeks after infection, during which time there is no feeling of infection. It is done by aby a doctor by blood test.

The hepatitis B virus can also disappear on its own: you are then immune. If it does not disappear, you are a carrier and can transmit the virus. So remember to tell your partners and those around you to get tested and treated!

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Treatment

As with hepatitis A, most healthy adults can eliminate the hepatitis B virus from their bodies without needing treatment. In those who cannot, 5-10% of adults will develop chronic hepatitis, which can lead to serious complications.

If diagnosed in time, hepatitis B can be treated with antivirals.

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Protection

There are several ways to protect yourself from hepatitis B:


Vaccination

A free and very effective vaccine is offered in Belgium along with the other infant vaccines. Three injections guarantee lifelong immunity.

Adults can also be vaccinated with two injections, provided they have not previously been in contact with the virus.

More information on the hepatitis B vaccine at www.vaccination-info.be


Preventive measures

To minimize the risk of contamination :

Symptoms of hepatitis B can go unnoticed, so get tested, protect yourself and your partners after taking risks.

Hepatitis C, STI, screening, STD, sexually transmitted infections, unsafe sex

Often without symptoms, GET DETECTED!

Hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is a silent and discrete disease that attacks the liver cells and is transmitted through the bloodstream.

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but different treatments exist depending on the type of virus and the severity of the liver damage. If left untreated, hepatitis C can become chronic and lead to liver cirrhosis or cancer.

Today, hepatitis C infects and kills 4 times more people than HIV/AIDS worldwide. Injecting drugs is the primary cause of hepatitis transmission, before sexual relations.

In Belgium, there are almost 70,000 people infected with hepatitis C. 300 people die each year in Belgium, even though there is an effective treatment.

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Transmission modes

You can get the hepatitis C virus (HCV) when contaminated blood from a carrier comes into direct contact with your blood. Blood is the only contaminating liquid that transmits hepatitis C.


Most common ways to get infected

  • sharing contaminated injection equipment (syringe, spoon, filter, water, cotton, tampon,...). Boiling, burning or rinsing equipment with bleach does not protect against infection!
  • sharing contaminated tattoo and piercing equipment (needles or other sharp objects, inks and tattoo guns).
  • blood transfusion or haemodialysis in countries with limited medical supervision. In Belgium, all medical products in contact with blood are systematically tested for hepatitis C and B since 1990!

The life span of the hepatitis C virus in the open air is several days.


Other ways to get infected

  • sharing of snorting straws
  • sharing hygienic equipment such as a razorrazor, a toothbrushtoothbrush nail clippers or a clippersThese can cause small lesions (cuts, scratches, etc.) that transmit contaminated blood.
  • sexual intercourse unprotected, or traumatic and/or including the presence of blood (anal sex, fisting, sex during menstruation, lesions, etc.)
  • contact with blood spatter or blood via an open wound open wound
  • transmission from mother to child
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Symptoms

Hepatitis C is a silent disease, often without symptoms. However, in some people, some manifestations of the disease may appear which may be a sign of severe liver disease:

  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain

The onset of these symptoms is highly variable and can range from 2 to 26 weeks.

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Consequences if undetected and untreated

Even if you feel healthy, hepatitis C can damage the liver. In some cases, serious complications can occur such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer, fulminant hepatitisthe last two of which can lead to death.

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Screening

Hepatitis C often has no symptoms. Screening is therefore essential to detect the virus.

This detection is done by blood test and/or rapid test. It can be done between 8 and 12 weeks after infection. The screening is done on prescription by the attending physician in a laboratory or any other reference centre.

The amount of virus in the blood can also be measured to estimate the stage of infection and to determine the conditions for treatment.

Questionnaire to find out if you should be tested:

Hepatitis C, questionnaire, screening, responses
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Treatment

Antivirals for 2 to 3 months, taken orally, which eliminate the virus. 

Be careful, you can always get reinfected if you take risks again afterwards!

Since 1 January 2019, treatment for hepatitis C is reimbursed for all infected persons, even at an early stage of the disease.even at an early stage of the disease.

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Protection

There is currently no vaccine against hepatitis C!

To minimise the risk of contamination, preventive measures should be taken:

Symptoms of hepatitis C can go unnoticed, so protect yourself and your partners after taking a risk!


MORE INFORMATION ON HEPATITIS

Carrefour Hépatites - Aides et Contact (CHAC): www.hepatites.be

Institute of Public Health (IPH): https://www.sciensano.be/fr/sujets-sante/hepatites-a-b-c-d-et-e

World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/fr/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-c

Hepatitis Info Service: www.hepatites-info-service.org

Hepatitis C Network: www.reseauhepatitec.be

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