In the previous article, we’ve talked about how the emerging Open-minded Sexual Practices and Orientations including LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) culture contributes significantly in risks for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Particularly in concern is the Hepatitis Infection that are rising as a consequence to unsafe sexual practices. Here we will discuss about the Hepatitis Prevention that will aid in stopping transmission and preventing sickness and death.
What Hepatitis Prevention protects me against Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis Prevention for Hepatitis B includes;
- Get screened for Hepatitis B (HBsAg to see if you have the disease, Anti-HBs to measure your immune levels)
- Get the Hepatitis B vaccines
- Practice safer sex (use protection, have fewer partners, maintain hygiene)
- Tell your friends at risk to get vaccination against Hepatitis B
What Hepatitis Prevention protects me against Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis Prevention for Hepatitis A includes;
- Be aware of the fecal-oral transmission
- Avoid overly unhygienic sex
- Get the Hepatitis A shots
- Tell your friends at risk to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A
How do I know if I have or have had Hepatitis A virus or Hepatitis B virus infection?
The only way to know for sure if you have a Hepatitis Infection is to have your blood tested. Many people are afraid to get tested, and opt to ignore them until it is too late. To know and monitor the conditions of your own health is your right. Never wait until it is too late!
Everyone should get their Hepatitis Prevention as soon as possible, especially those with higher risks due to lifestyle and environmental factors.
Isn’t our body capable of ‘naturally’ producing an effective Immunity for Hepatitis Prevention?
Yes, our body ideally can learn and produce immunity towards diseases after exposure. Read this article to understand more about your Immune System; this and this. However, for our body to learn on its own it requires for us to get infected and sick first. And as we’ve mentioned, Hepatitis A is an acute infection that requires you to rest for weeks, rendering you unproductive and staying home from work.
Acute Hepatitis B infection goes away on its own. However, most people show no symptoms and become carriers, or proceed to the chronic form of Hepatitis B that is incurable (only manageable), and at high risks to develop Severe Liver Diseases (Cirrhosis, Liver Cancer, etc) and even death.
Should I have my blood tested before getting vaccinated?
The only blood test needed before getting vaccinated, and available at a very affordable price is for Hepatitis B (HBsAg; Hepatitis B surface antigen). If you have already been infected with hepatitis A virus or hepatitis B virus, getting the vaccines will not help or hurt you. Consult more with our doctors to determine whether you may have additional risks factors.
How many shots do I need to be protected against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B virus infections?
The Hepatitis B vaccine series consists of three doses spaced out over approximately 6 months (1st, 2nd, and 3rd doses at months -0, -1, and -6 respectively). The Hepatitis A series consists of two doses preferably given 6 to 12 months apart. If you started either series but didn’t get all the doses, you should continue where you left off. A combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine has been developed for adults who need protection against both hepatitis A virus and hepatitis B virus infections. This vaccine consists of three doses given over a 6-month period.
Are these shots safe? Do they have any side effects?
Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines have been proven to be safe. Globally, more than one billion Hepatitis B vaccine doses have been given. Since 1995, more than 15 million doses of hepatitis A vaccine have been given in the U.S. with no reports of serious health problems linked to the vaccine. Side effects might include soreness at the injection site, headache, and fatigue.
Are these shots effective at all?
Yes! After three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, at least 90% of healthy young adults develop immunity to hepatitis B virus infection. Immune-compromised people might not respond as well to Hepatitis B vaccine. Their level of anti-HBs should be tested 1–2 months after the third dose of vaccine to see if they responded.
Nearly 100% of people are protected from hepatitis A virus infection after getting two doses of hepatitis A vaccine.
Besides that, the cost-effectiveness of getting Hepatitis Vaccination provides a huge benefit for you compared to the estimated IDR 250,000,000 medications cost (medicine only; Peginterferon α-2b and Entecavir) for 1 year course of Hepatitis B infection, and the indirect financial loss from inability to work for weeks due to acute Hepatitis A infection.
Will Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B vaccine protect me from hepatitis C?
No. Hepatitis A, B, and C are all different viruses. The Hepatitis C virus is spread through body fluids, and although it can be transmitted through sexual contact, it is most commonly acquired through injection drug use. Unfortunately, there is no Hepatitis C vaccine at this time.
Are these shots recommended for travellers?
Both Hepatitis A virus and Hepatitis B virus infection are common in many parts of the world. People traveling to any area of the world except the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia should get vaccinated against hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for many travellers also.
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