Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, of which there are three main types: A, B and C. But if you feel like you’re about to embark on a Sesame Street-style alphabetical journey into the world of hepatitis, think again. Because Hepatitis B, which can be spread through the exchange of blood and body fluids during unprotected sex, or through dirty needles and contaminated blood products, is 100 times more infectious than HIV! However, many people may not even realise they have been infected with the virus, as symptoms may not develop immediately, or at all. Hepatitis C is also spread through the exchange of blood or blood products, or through sharing needles and needlestick accidents. And Hepatitis A can be caught through the faecal contamination of food and water or through poor personal hygiene or sanitation. There is often no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. However, with pain relief for symptoms, rest, a healthy diet, and abstention from alcohol, most people tend to be symptom free, or recover completely within a couple of months. Chronic hepatitis (caused only by B and C) may be treated with intravenous antiviral medication.
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