What is it?
Hepatitis A is a very contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.
How do you get it?
Most often, people get hepatitis A when they come into contact with fecal matter from someone with hepatitis A. This might happen during activities like ass play and rimming, or by touching an infected person’s butt during sex and then not washing your hands before eating or drinking.
The virus can also be transmitted in water (e.g., by eating shellfish from contaminated water sources) or orally (e.g., by sharing eating utensils, sharing a joint, or by kissing an infected person).
What are the symptoms?
People with hepatitis A might get mild flu-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes or urine). Symptoms may take between two and seven weeks to show up but the infection usually clears the body within a month. Rarely, people can be sick for several months.
A blood test is used to diagnose hepatitis A. Once you have had hepatitis A, you’ll have antibodies in your blood and will probably become immune to it. That means once you’ve had it, you probably won’t get it again. We don’t test for hepatitis A at Strut. We do provide hep A and B vaccinations.
Can it be treated?
Hepatitis A can be treated within two weeks of getting it—but most people don’t find out they have hepatitis A until it’s too late for treatment. Then, all you can do is get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. In some severe cases, people with hepatitis A need to go to the hospital.
How can it be prevented?
You can get vaccinated for hepatitis A. The vaccination comes in two required doses—the second dose is given six months after the first. There is also a hepatitis A and B combined vaccination that’s available, which comes in three doses. The second dose is given one month after the first; the third six months after the initial dose.
To prevent hepatitis A transmission, wash your hands after using the bathroom and before and after sex (especially ass play), and use dams for rimming.
Hepatitis A & HIV
If you have HIV and get hepatitis A, you’ll have to stop your HIV medications and possibly drugs you might be taking to treat an opportunistic infection. This is because many antiretroviral medications are processed by the liver and can’t be tolerated during an acute hepatitis infection (which affects the liver). So it’s probably wise to get immunized if you have HIV.