Don't be ignorant about this disease
Image by Nicki Varkevisser CC BY 2.0 Cropped

Risk - any sex with another

Often there are no symptoms

Street names

Hep-A, Hep-B, Hep-C, Jaundice


Sickness or disease which is usually sudden onset, brief,  and often severe.
Sickness or disease continuing a long time.

Facts about Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a dangerous disease of the liver and the disease can either be relatively mild or it could result in death. Although there are many types of Hepatitis viruses, the three most common Hepatitis diseases are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C can be sexually transmitted.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B starts out as an acute infection, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems. Chronic Hepatitis B (and less often Hepatitis C) can easily be spread by having sex with an infected person. There is a vaccine to prevent catching Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis C virus remains in a person’s body for a lifetime and leads to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C.

Transmission (how you catch it)

Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected.

  • Having sex with an infected person.
  • Sharing needles, piercings, razors, toothbrush, food or drink with an infected person.
  • Direct contact with blood or open wounds/sores of an infected person.

Many people with Hepatitis B have no symptoms, but these people can still spread the virus. Some people, especially those infected during early childhood, remain infected for life because they never clear the virus from their bodies.

If a person had one type of viral Hepatitis in the past, it is still possible to get the other types, however if you recover completely from Hepatitis B, you don’t get Hep-B again.


Many people don’t know they are infected or may not have symptoms and therefore never seek medical help. Although a majority of adults develop symptoms from acute Hepatitis B virus infection, many young children do not. Adults and children over the age of 5 years are more likely to have symptoms.

Hepatitis B yellow skin/eyes

Symptoms on average appear 90 days (or 3 months) after exposure, but they can appear any time between 6 weeks and 6 months after exposure. Symptoms of acute Hepatitis B, if they appear, can include fever, feeling tired, no appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, and yellow color to skin or eyes (see image).


No over-the-counter medicine works.

Acute Hep-B

There is no medication available to treat acute Hepatitis B. During this short-term infection, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids, although some people may need to be hospitalized.

Chronic Hep-B

People with chronic Hepatitis B should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for possible treatment. Several medications have been approved for Hepatitis B treatment, and new drugs are in development.


  • Only 100% completely safe option - choose not to have sex!
  • Latex condoms may work if properly used.
  • Vaccination. The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting the Hepatitis B vaccine. The Hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective and is usually given as 3-4 shots over a 6-month period.
    • All children should get their first dose of Hepatitis B vaccine at birth and complete the vaccine series by 6–18 months of age.
    • All children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age who have not yet gotten the vaccine should also be vaccinated. 'Catch-up' vaccination is recommended for children and adolescents who were never vaccinated or who did not get the entire vaccine series.

Individual help

If you have further questions or concerns about STDs, ask Dr. Mike, an internationally known Clinical Microbiologist specializing in STDs. He has worked extensively with teenage boys and contributed all the information and STD images on the disease pages here.

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