Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by viruses and can lead to serious health consequences. There are a number of different forms of the virus, but the most common types of viral hepatitis in Canada are hepatitis A, B and C all of which are contagious.
How Do You Get Hepatitis?
The Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) is spread through contact with the feces (poop) of an infected person either directly (person to person, including sexual activity) or indirectly through food or water that’s been contaminated with the virus. Spread through infected blood or blood products has also been reported. There is no medication available to treat Hepatitis A but most people recover on their own.
The Hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) viruses are spread through contact with contaminated blood, but Hepatitis B is also sexually transmitted. Both viruses can lead to serious liver damage, liver cancer and the need for liver transplantation. In Canada, about 600,000 people are living with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
What are the Symptoms?
Not everyone who becomes infected shows symptoms. Regardless of the type of hepatitis virus infection, the symptoms are similar:
What Can You Do To Reduce Your Risk of Infection?
Changing behaviours that increase risk is key to protecting yourself from infection and to preventing the spread of infection to others.
Know Your Status – Get Tested
Preventative Health Care – the Easiest Way to Protect Your Future!