Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a virus that can result in serious liver issues. There are several types of hepatitis. Hepatitis can be transmitted sexually or other ways.

There are different types of hepatitis that may be transmitted through sexual contact.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A (Hep A)

  • is highly infectious
  • is spread by oral-fecal contamination, for example through unwashed hands during food preparation or through sexual contact such as anal intercourse or anal-oral sexual activity (“rimming”).
  • is preventable by vaccination. The vaccine is free for high risk populations in British Columbia, and is available at public health clinics, travel clinics, doctor’s offices and some treatment centres.

Hepatitis B (Hep B)

  • can be very infectious
  • can cause both acute and chronic infection
  • is spread through body fluids including blood, semen, vaginal fluid, saliva and breast milk
  • can be transmitted by sexual contact; sharing of drug equipment; sharing personal hygiene items such as razors, toothbrushes, scissors; and by tattoos and piercing
  • is preventable through vaccination. In BC there are universal vaccination programs for grade 6 students (since 1991) and infants (since 2000). The vaccine is available at public health clinics, travel clinics, doctor’s offices and some treatment centres. Hepatitis B vaccinations are free for many in British Columbia.

Hepatitis C (Hep C)

  • can cause both acute and chronic infections
  • is usually spread by contact with infected blood.
  • The main mode of transmission is street drug use (sharing of drug equipment-needles, straws, etc.), sexual activity involving blood, tattooing and piercing, sharing sharps such as razors, scissors, tooth brushes, etc.
  • no vaccine is available to prevent Hep C

How do you prevent Hepatitis?

To reduce your risk of hepatitis:

  • Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use condoms and oral dams during oral sex.
  • Get tested regularly (It’s free and confidential)
  • Talk about past sexual partners and drug use with your current partner(s).

How does a person get tested for Hepatitis?

  • All types of hepatitis can be tested with a blood test
  • Testing is private and free with a carecard.

Where does a person get tested for Hepatitis?

  • Island Sexual Health clinics in Greater Victoria
  • Your local sexual health clinics
  • Your local youth clinic
  • Walk in clinics
  • Family Doctors