Hepatitis A&B

AIDS Care Ocean State wants you to be informed about hepatitis A and hepatitis B. We offer free hepatitis A and B vaccines at our Prevention Center.

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B is a serious infection that affects the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus.

  • In 2009, about 38,000 people became infected with hepatitis B.
  • Each year about 2,000 to 4,000 people die in the United States from cirrhosis or liver cancer caused by hepatitis B.
It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

Hepatitis B virus is easily spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. People can also be infected from contact with a contaminated object, where the virus can live for up to 7 days.

  • A baby whose mother is infected can be infected at birth

Children, adolescents, and adults can become infected
by:

  • contact with blood and body fluids through breaks in the skin such as bites, cuts, or sores;
  • contact with objects that have blood or body fluids
  • on them such as toothbrushes, razors, or monitoring
  • and treatment devices for diabetes;
  • having unprotected sex with an infected person;
  • sharing needles when injecting drugs;
  • being stuck with a used needle.

Hepatitis A can cause:

  • “flu-like” illness
  • jaundice (yellow skin or eyes, dark urine)
  • severe stomach pains and diarrhea (children)
  • People with hepatitis A often have to be hospitalized (up to about 1 person in 5).
  • Adults with hepatitis A are often too ill to work for up to a month.
  • Sometimes, people die as a result of hepatitis A (about 3-6 deaths per 1,000 cases).
  • Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent hepatitis A.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

Jaundice (Short-term illness:

  • yellow skin or eyes)

Chronic infection:

  • Liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • Liver cancer
  • Death

Many people who have chronic hepatitis B do not experience symptoms, but the infection is still very serious.

It is recommended that everyone over one year of age be vaccinated for hepatitis A. The Center for Disease Control provides a more detailed summary of who should be vaccinated and why.

It is recommended that everyone be vaccinated for hepatitis B.

AIDS Care Ocean State offers free hepatitis A and B vaccinations and we encourage everyone who is not vaccinated to make an appointment today.

Information in this section is provided by the Center for Disease control, www.cdc.gov.