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The Agents of YEAH here in Brisbane have been a busy bunch! We recently received a grant from Hepatitis Australia to help us teach young people in our workshops about Hepatitis (as well as other sexually transmitted infections we’re already trained in!). But first we had to get educated about Hepatitis! Here is a small run down on what we learnt the day!
There are five different hepatitis viruses that have been identified to date. These are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. ‘F’ is used to measure the degree of damage to the liver.
The degrees of damage are caused by hepatitis are:
F1 (Hepatitis – enlarged, tender)
F2 (Fibrosis – scarring)
F3 (Bridging Fibrosis – shrinkage, hardening)
F4 (Cirrhosis – nodules, extensive scarring)
Hepatitis A (HAV) is spread by the fecal-oral route. HAV is high in developing countries and in regions with poor hygiene standards.
Hepatitis B (HBV) is transmitted sexually and through blood to blood contact. Hepatitis D (HDV) can only be contracted with the presence of Hepatitis B. Hepatitis D can increase the speed of cirrhosis and increase the risk on liver failure.
HBV DOES have a vaccination which is 3 injections over 6 months.
Signs and symptoms of HBV include discomfort or pain in the abdomen, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite and aches and pains.
Hepatitis C (HCV) is transmitted through blood to blood contact. At risk activities include injecting drug use, blood transfusions, sexual contact, blood rituals and body modifications (eg. Tattoos, body piercing).
Signs and symptoms of HCV include discomfort or pain in the abdomen, nausea, light faeces, dark urine, fatigue, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, aches and pains and brain fog.
Hepatitis E (HEV) is transmitted in the fecal-oral route. It is not commonly found in Australia.
After the first 6 months of initial infection, 95% of adults will clear HBV naturally. The other 5% will go on to develop chronic hepatitis. 15-40% of patients will die of the virus If left untreated.
Out of 100 people who are exposed to HCV, 75 will develop chronic hepatitis. After 15 years, 50-60 of those will develop mild to moderate liver damage, after 20-30 years 5-20 will develop cirrhosis and after 25-50 years, 2-5 will develop liver failure or liver cancer.
The main objectives to treating hepatitis are to stop or reduce viral replication, stop or reduce liver damage and to improve quality of life.
Head to Loveyourliver.com.au for more information and events!