Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
This video from the World Hepatitis Alliance explains who is most at risk from Hepatitis
Hepatitis C (HCV)
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus which can be transmitted through sexual contact and the sharing of injecting equipment. injection.
Initial symptoms of hepatitis C are similar to flu and include mild fever, joint and muscle pain, feeling and being sick and diarrhoea. This may then be followed by other symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), itchy skin, passing very dark urine and pale stools.
Using clean needles & other drug using equipment is recommended as the most effective way to prevent the transmission of hepatitis C during ChemSex activities. We also suggest;
- Using a new condom for each sexual partner
- Using condoms for anal and vaginal sex
- Using latex gloves for fisting
- Putting condoms on sex toys & replacing after each use
- Drugs increase the risk of bleeding because blood flow is increased
PrEP does not protect against Hepatitis or STIs
Click here for more safer sex advice
Click here to find out where to get a hepatitis test in Brighton and Hove
Click here to find a list of local needle exchanges
There is no vaccination against hepatitis C. Treatments are available but at present are funded for one treatment course only. Successful clearance of the virus does not provide immunity against re-infection.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
Hepatitis B is transmitted through exposure to infected blood, semen, and other body fluids. HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood. Transmission may also occur through transfusions of HBV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. HBV also poses a risk to healthcare workers who sustain accidental needle stick injuries while caring for infected-HBV patients. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.
Vaccinations are free and available to those who may be at risk of contracting Hepatitis A & B.