With technological developments bringing the world closer together, it gets easier for more people to connect with each other by every passing day. This of course brings all the advantages in various sectors of life; faster communication, better business, easier commute, larger peer networks, etc. But ultimately it all comes down to inter-personal, human relationships. The recent hook-up culture went viral and with the increasing number of people who are comfortable with being more sexually open, risks for disease transmission increases proportionately.
In this article, we’re going to talk about Hepatitis Infection and the threats they pose to our generation. In particular, for people who practices LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans), and other open, non-monogamous heterosexual relationships. And although there are various types of the Hepatitis Infections, we’re going to focus on those we can easily prevent
Hepatitis Infection Guide For LGBT? But Why?
People with an Open-minded Sexual Practices and Orientations are more likely to acquire Sexually Transmitted Illnesses. We believe that much is common sense. Hepatitis (A, B, & C), HIV, HPV Infections are currently among the most serious and life-threatening of the STIs. However, focusing on what is immediately preventable, we will talk in depth about Hepatitis A and B infection.
Transmission of Hepatitis Infection; Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and Hepatitis B virus (HBV) in particular has been reported in different countries all around the world since 1980s. This includes outbreaks in several countries due to poor food-handling hygiene, poor sexual hygiene, needle-sharing culture, etc. Men who have sex with men, for example, are at increased risk of Hepatitis Infection with both the hepatitis A virus and the Hepatitis B virus.
Although these viruses can be transmitted in different ways, both can be spread through sexual activity. It is well recognized that oral-anal sexual contact predisposes to HAV and HBV infection. Hepatitis is a very serious disease that can be fatal. Hepatitis B, are associated with a diverse range of liver damage including asymptomatic Carriers, Chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC; liver cancer). Fortunately, both hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented by safe and effective vaccines. Unfortunately, many men and women at risk remain unprotected.
We are hopeful that the Hepatitis Infection Guide For LGBT will provide an eye-opening insight to protect ourselves as fellow human beings, despite the pointless debates and arguments towards sexual orientations.
How great is my risk of getting Hepatitis Infection?
Approximately 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), 75% of whom reside in Asia. Approximately 780,000 of infected patients die each year due to HBV-related diseases or Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC; liver cancer). The prevalence for Hepatitis B Infection in Indonesia is categorized as moderate to high (2.5% – 10% population), varying between islands. Men who have sex with men are 10 to 15 times more likely to acquire the hepatitis B virus than the general population.
The prevalence of Hepatitis A is higher in rural areas than big cities. This may be attributed to poor hygiene and lack of sanitation in their living environment. The duration of sexual activity, hygiene of sexual activity, and the number of lifetime sexual partners are factors that have been associated with high prevalence of anti-HAV antibody. Persons who engage in anal pleasuring activities such as rimming and fingering are at increased risk.
How are Hepatitis A virus and Hepatitis B virus spread?
Hepatitis Infection are very contagious. Hepatitis B itself is 100x more infectious than HIV. A man infected with hepatitis B virus can spread the virus to another person by;
- having unprotected anal or vaginal sex
- sharing needles for drugs, piercing, or tattooing
- directly or indirectly coming in contact with the infected person’s open sores or blood
- sharing toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers, etc.
The Hepatitis B virus can also be spread by living in a household with a chronically infected person. The Hepatitis B virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, hand holding, coughing, or sneezing.
Hepatitis A virus is usually transmitted from particles of fecal material, for example, by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or during sex.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B?
The symptoms of both diseases are similar: extreme tiredness, nausea, fever, dark urine, bloated and tender belly, and yellowish-tinged skin and eyes. However, people with Hepatitis Infection can have no symptoms at all or be extremely ill.
75% of people with Hepatitis B do not show symptoms until later, more serious stages. Those with Hepatitis Infection; either hepatitis A virus or hepatitis B virus can spread the disease to others, whether they show symptoms or not.
Do people fully recover from Hepatitis Infections?
Most adults recover from hepatitis B virus infection after several months and are no longer contagious. Unfortunately, about 5% of adults who become infected with hepatitis B virus will carry the virus in their bodies for years and remain infectious. Chronically infected people usually do not have symptoms, but are at increased risk for eventual liver failure due to cirrhosis (shrinking of the liver) and liver cancer and need ongoing medical care.
Liver transplantation is the only effective treatment for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related end-stage liver disease. However, without antiviral prophylaxis, the recurrence rate of hepatitis B is as high as 80%-100%, which leads to a 50% mortality rate within the first 2 years after liver transplantation
Although hepatitis A virus does not result in chronic infection, acutely infected people can become very sick, require long duration (est. 2 months) of Total Bed Rest and may sometimes die. This means that infected people will lose capability to work and earn a living during their recovery time.
How serious are hepatitis A and hepatitis B virus infections?
Hepatitis Infection may cause problems from simply having to stay on bed for a few weeks, to recurrent chronic infections, and ultimately serious liver diseases. Hepatitis B virus infection can cause serious liver disease, including Total Liver Failure, and Liver Cancer. According to the WHO, two billion people worldwide have been infected with Hepatitis B and about 780,000 people die each year because of it. More than 5,000 people in the U.S. die every year from hepatitis B-related liver disease.
There are 102,000 deaths from hepatitis A in year 2010. About 15% of people with hepatitis A require hospitalization. Adults who become ill are often out of work for several weeks. Becoming infected with hepatitis A virus or hepatitis B virus can have a major impact on a person’s life. A person might be too sick to work or go to the gym for months, and should not drink alcohol. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B virus infection can have serious consequences for people with HIV. This due to their immune systems being compromised.
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