Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus infection, and more rarely by intoxication. The main symptom is jaundice (yellowing of the skin). When a person suffers from hepatitis, his liver in inflated and it stops working properly. There are three types of Hepatitis, namely Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Anyone can catch it, but there are certain groups of people who are more likely:

  • People who have received blood transfusions.
  • People who have sexual contact with a infected person, and
  • Men who have sex with men.

Symptoms of Hepatitis

Symptoms of the disease are common for all forms of hepatitis, whether it’s A, B or C.

The common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Sickness
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Symptoms present only some people
  • Darkening of urine
  • Colored droppings
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice)

Treatments of Hepatitis

Most people, who have hepatitis A or hepatitis B, recover on their own after a few weeks. However, it is very important to follow some guidelines:

  • Bed rest for several days or weeks depending on the overall condition of the person;
  • Follow a diet rich in protein and low in fat (to lower the blood level of transaminases);
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water or juice);
  • Do not drink alcohol until you are completely cured;
  • Take the medicines your doctor prescribes
  • Prevent consuming certain types of drugs such as painkillers and tranquilizers.

Those who do not recover on their own, like in acute cases of Hepatitis B, have to take different anti-viral drugs (mainly lamivudine), which are prescribed by their physician.

Hepatitis C has to be treated with drugs, if patients don’t recover on their own within a couple of months. Most commonly used drugs are ribavivirin (anti-viral) and peginterferon.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are the most common infectious diseases caused by the micro organisms and spread through any type of sexual activity, involving the sex organs.  These diseases are also termed as sexually Transmitted Infections. The infection could be caused by bacteria/parasite or virus.

Various viruses, bacteria and other micro organisms that are causes of STDs are stated below:

VIRUSES

A)  HIV: AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is caused by a virus that infects white blood cells of the body. It destroys a person’s immune system.  During the initial phase, even if there are no symptoms and the blood test is negative, yet the person is highly infectious.

B)  Herpes Infections: The herpes viruses cause various illnesses. Chicken pox and mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr) are examples of a herpes virus.

Cold Sores and Fever Blisters: These sores are infectious for at least three to four days until the sores begin to heal. Contact with the sores or any contaminated object can cause the virus to be transmitted.

Genital Herpes: Genital herpes is what causes genital warts. All warts are caused from a virus. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted wart.  It is caused from having intercourse with someone who has genital herpes, or from having oral sex with someone with a cold sore.

C)  Hepatitis Infections

There are several types of hepatitis; Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.  You or food workers get the infections easily if do not wash hands properly after going to the washroom and then eat, by sexual contact or sharing needles by drug users or get infected blood.  There is no treatment and cure, but there is a vaccine for prevention.

BACTERIA

Abstinence or monogamous relations (always the same partner) with someone who is free of an STD will prevent transmission. Bacterial diseases are controlled by preventing transmission and by antibiotics.  Otherwise, the use of a condom and avoidance of oral/genital contact is recommended.

A) Chlamydia

B)  Gonorrhea

C)  Syphilis

Other Organisms that cause Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A) Trichomonas

B) Fungi and Yeast

C) Lice

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a liver disease caused by a virus.  Hepatitis C is a different virus from Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B.  It causes long term liver damage by causing scarring of the liver (Cirrhosis) and in a small percentage of infected people, can lead to liver cancer.

HCV is spread when people share blood or body fluids containing blood.  To get Hepatitis C you must share blood or body fluids containing blood with a person who has the disease.

Examples of high risk behavior are:

  • Sharing needles or other injection equipment to do injection drugs.
  • Sharing needles, ink or other bloody equipment for tattooing or body piercing.
  • Sharing razors, toothbrushes, nail scissors or other personal hygiene items that maybe contaminated with blood
  • Receiving infected blood or blood products before 1990.
  • Needle-stick injuries in health care.

Most people who become infected with Hepatitis C feel quite healthy and have no symptoms, but they can spread the infection to others.  These people may become ill. Some symptoms of Hepatitis C may include:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite (don’t feel like eating)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellow appearance to the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Clay colored or white stool
  • Tea colored urine

How to Prevent HCV Transmission:

The only sure way to prevent the spread of HCV (not catch Hepatitis C) is by abstaining from (not doing) risk behaviors.  For example: not sharing injection drug equipment and not sharing razors. You can reduce the risk of Hepatitis C infection by:

  • Use of clean needle every time you inject yourself (use needle exchange program)
  • Do not share toothbrushes, razors, nail scissors and any personal hygiene items that may be contaminated with blood
  • Always practice safe sex by using condoms during sexual intercourse (oral vaginal, anal)
  • Ensure that tattooing and body piercing establishments follow the right steps to prevent blood borne infections
  • If you are doing your own tattooing/body piercing, do not share needles and/or equipment (E.g. Ink, gauze, etc.)