What is it?

Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of your liver.

How do I get it?

Hepatitis A is passed on when small particles of faeces enter a person's mouth through activities such as rimming, or by not washing your hands after sex with an infected person. It is most commonly seen as a form of infection through contamination of food and water.

What symptoms or signs might I notice?

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection may include mild flu-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain and jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes or urine). Symptoms can take 2 - 7 weeks to appear but the infection will usually clear within a month. On rare occasions people can be ill for several months.

How will I be tested for Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is diagnosed with a blood test. Once you have had hepatitis A, antibodies will be detected in your blood. Most people will develop life long immunity to hepatitis A once they have had it, meaning that it is unlikely that you will ever get it again.

How will I be treated for Hepatitis A?

Specific treatment for hepatitis A is not required. Lots of bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids are recommended. If your symptoms are very severe, your GP may recommend that you see a specialist in hospital.

How can I avoid Hepatitis A?

There is a free combined vaccination for hepatitis A and B available. Four doses in total are required for life long immunity. Three vaccinations are given over a 3 week period with a 4th vaccination at 12 months. There is also a separate free vaccine available for hepatitis A as well. Two doses of this vaccine are required at least six months apart.

To prevent passing on hepatitis A to others, wash your hands after using the toilet, before and after sex, after handling used condoms and sex toys that have been in someone else’s anus.

What if I’m HIV-positive?

HIV positive men are encouraged to have both Hepatitis A and B vaccinations to prevent avoidable infection of the liver which is important for your body's handling of prescribed drugs for treatment of HIV and other related infections.

Where can I get help?

If you think you might have Hepatitis A, or have been exposed to it, get a check up at SRP. Click on the services link for check up options.