May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. Want to get involved? Use the hashtag #HepAware to share information on Hepatitis. You could also take the time to get tested at your local Teen Clinic or health centre.
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a liver infection caused by a family of viruses that attacks the liver. The most common types are A, B and C. Hepatitis A is spread through fecal matter (poop), often through contaminated water. Hepatitis B is spread through blood or sex fluids. Both A and B have vaccines, and the body can usually fight off an infection on it’s own. Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood, but it’s can be harder for the body to fight it on it’s own. Most people will need to take medication to get rid of Hepatitis C. Sometimes the medication can feel intense so it may mean taking a break from commitments like school, work or other things in life.
The Hepatitis C virus is passed by blood-to-blood contact. Blood with the virus must get into the bloodstream of another person. This means all other body fluids are safe from getting Hepatitis C, including tears, sweat, urine, saliva, and vomit.
Risky Behaviours for Hepatitis C
- Sharing needles, pipes, straws, cookers, filters, ties, or water for drug use with anyone else, including your sexual partner. Sharing means passing on, selling, giving or lending any of your stuff.
- Piercing or tattooing equipment (including ink) already used on someone else.
- Anything that might have blood on it, like razors, nail clippers and toothbrushes already used by someone else, even if you can’t see the blood.
- Unprotected sex with someone who has Hep C and there is blood.
- Reusing medical equipment that was not properly sterilized (such as a scalpel) or reusing needles for medical injections.
Check out our section on Hepatitis C to learn more
We also have some amazing art made by youth that goes over Hepatitis C information