Hepatitis A and Sexual Transmission
Hepatitis A has been in the local news lately, specifically related to infections identified in restaurant industry employees. While Hepatitis A is most often spread by ingestion of food or water contaminated with fecal material of infected people, both casual contact and intimate/sexual contact with an infected individual can put a person at risk of being infected. Oral to anal sex is certainly riskier, but not necessary to transmit the virus sexually.
Hepatitis A is often transmitted by infected people when they are not aware of their infection. A person is infectious in the early stages of the infection, before they begin having symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measures typically used to prevent the transmission of other STDs (e.g., use of condoms) do not prevent Hepatitis A transmission. Vaccination is the most effective means of preventing Hepatitis A transmission among persons at risk for infection.
Hepatitis A vaccinations have been a part of the routine childhood immunization schedule since 1994, and therefore many people have already been immunized. For those uncertain of their immunization status, the CDC recommends the Hepatitis A vaccination for men who have sex with men (MSM). Sexually active adults are not considered at risk for hepatitis A unless they live with or are having sex with an infected person, inject drugs or have chronic liver disease.
Clarity is partnering with the Bartholomew County Health Department in providing two Hepatitis A vaccination clinics on August 1, 2019.
2-4 p.m. at Clarity Testing Clinic, located at 1950 Doctors Park Drive, Suite B, Columbus
4:30-6 p.m. at Clarity Pregnancy Services, located at 2420 E. 7thStreet, Columbus.
Those who have never been vaccinated against Hepatitis A or are uncertain of their vaccination status and are at risk are encouraged to get vaccinated. For more information, please call the Bartholomew County Health Department at 812-379-1555, option 1.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexual Transmission and Viral Hepatitis: Key Facts about Sexually Active Adults and Viral Hepatitis. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/populations/stds.htm. 2015. Accessed 07/03/2019
- Vaccines.gov. Hepatitis A. https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/hepatitis_a. Accessed 07/03/2019.