Hepatitis Initiative
 

Protect Yourself
PCHA will be providing free vaccinations for anyone who has risk factors for Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B. The Hepatitis A vaccine is a 2 shot series, and the Hepatitis B vaccine is a 3 shot series. Both series will be completed within 6 months. Referral for appropriate follow-up will be made if you have already been exposed to Hepatitis A of B. Hepatitis C education will also be provided.

Late night vaccinations available every LAST Friday of the month from 9pm-1am at the Washington West Project, located at 1201 Locust Street.

Please call PCHA at 215-563-0652 and make an appointment to be vaccinated.

Hepatitis A and B´┐Żno big deal right?
Did you know that even if you are engaging in behaviors that could be protecting you from HIV you could still be at risk for Hepatitis?

What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis means an inflammation of the liver. There are several different causes or types of hepatitis, a common type being Viral Hepatitis. Though Hepatitis D,E,G, have been identified, the most common types of Viral Hepatitis are types A, B, and C. Hepatitis can make you acutely ill or have many long-term consequences including Cirrhosis (replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue) or liver cancer.

Hepatitis A (HAV)

Transmission
Each year an estimated 152,000 Hepatitis A infections occur. HAV is transmitted by anal/oral contact, by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with infected feces, and fecal contamination of food and water. An adult may become ill if infected with HAV, but the infection resolves after several weeks. About 1 in 100 with HAV will suffer from a severe infection that could require a liver transplant. Most transmission occurs between contact with household members or through sexual partners. Men who have sex with men are at a higher risk, particularly due to risk associated with rimming (anal/oral contact). Hepatitis A can be spread by contact with fingers, sex toys, or condoms that have be in contact with the anus of an infected partner.

Symptoms
Symptoms could include jaundice, light stools, fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain. Some people with acute hepatitis A may have no symptoms. There is a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B (HBV)

Transmission
More than 200,000 HBV infections will occur in America this year. Approximately 1-1.25 million Americans are considered to be chronic carriers. 3-4,000 people die each year in the US from HBV related cirrhosis or liver cancer. HBV is 100 times more infectious than HIV. It can live on a dry surface for at least 7 days. HBV is transmitted through body fluids, such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. It is most commonly passed through sexual contact. It can also be transmitted by sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes, or human bites. People who are at high risk include: intravenous drug users, hemophiliacs, dialysis patients, men who have sex with men, anyone with multiple sex partners, travelers to developing countries, and persons in occupations that have contact with blood.

Symptoms
Often there are no symptoms of hepatitis B, but one may have mild flu-like symptoms, jaundice, and dark urine. Most experience no symptoms until liver failure. There is a vaccination for Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C (HCV)

Transmission
About 35,000 Americans contract Hepatitis C a year and 3.9 million Americans are chronically infected with HCV. 8-10,000 people die from HCV related cirrhosis each year in the US. Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood and blood products, however all modes of transmission have not been identified. People at most risk for Hepatitis C are people who received blood transfusions prior to July, 1992, IV drug users, people with hemophilia, and people on hemodialysis. Hepatitis C is rarely sexually transmitted. There is no evidence that it is transmitted through semen, saliva, or breast milk. It can be transmitted by sharing razors, needles, toothbrushes, nail files, body piercing or tattooing needles with an infected person. Unlike Hepatitis A or B, up to 80% of people infected with HCV will become chronic carriers, which can progress to more serious disease.

Symptoms
Often there are no symptoms of hepatitis C until liver damage occurs. Those with Hepatitis C should receive vaccinations to prevent Hepatitis A and B. There are no vaccines available for HCV.

 

For further information about hepatitis:

www.liverfoundation.org
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis
www.safeguards.org

This initiative is co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.