Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common forms of Hepatitis found in Australia. All three types of Hepatitis affect the liver, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. However, how each type is transmitted, treated and the seriousness of the infection differs.

Let’s discuss the main differences between Hepatitis A, B and C.

Transmission

  • Hepatitis A is most commonly spread through consumption of contaminated food or water. It can also be spread through sexual contact with someone who is infected.  Hepatitis A is mostly found in people who have travelled to developing countries.
  • Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person. This can be through sexual intercourse or contaminated needles or razors. Hepatitis B can also be passed from mother to baby.
  • Hepatitis C is usually spread through contact with infected blood. Similarly, it is often spread through the sharing of or use of contaminated needles in tattooing, piercing and drug use.
Drawing of the liver in red

Symptoms

Hepatitis A symptoms can include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice

Children can exhibit mild or even no symptoms.

Hepatitis B often shows no symptoms in the early stages but can present similar symptoms as Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis C can also show no symptoms in the early stages but can manifest symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Aching limbs
  • Digestive issues
  • Brain fog.

Treatment

Symptoms caused by Hepatitis A often clear within several weeks, leaving the infected person with life-long immunity from Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B typically does not require any specific treatments and can clear on its own, though the disease needs to be monitored if chronic disease develops (over 6 months). If the infection persists, specific drug treatment may be needed, so it is essential to monitor it closely.

Hepatitis C often requires specific medication, with some strains of the virus more resistant than others, so the individual must be continuously tested to see if the infection has been cleared.

With any type of Hepatitis, it is possible that long-lasting liver damage, inflammation and/or cancer can develop, so it is important to get tested and treated.

Vaccinations are available for Hepatitis A and B. There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C.

Speak to us in confidence

Better2Know provides testing for Hepatitis A, B and C, including immunity and antibody tests. Testing for Hepatitis is simple, with only a blood test required. You can choose to test for an individual type of Hepatitis or for all three types with our comprehensive Hepatitis Screen.

Contact our sexual health advisors by phone with any questions you may have or for assistance with booking an appointment at a clinic near you. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online.

Sources

[1] BETTERHEALTH.VIC.GOV: Hepatitis

[2] AIHW.GOV: Hepatitis A in Australia

[3] HEPATITISAUSTRALIA.COM: What is Hepatitis B?

[4] HEALTH.GOV: Hepatitis C




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