What is Hepatitis A?

When someone gets symptoms of genital herpes for the first time, treatment usually involves antiviral tablet to help speed up the healing process and sometimes painkillers.

Sometimes after the first time the genital herpes can come back (recur), just like cold sores can come back.

Sometimes people will need to take antiviral medication every day for 6 months to a year to reduce the number of recurrences. Other people who get recurrent episodes may just take the antiviral medication when they get symptoms. Your doctor will explain what may be the best option for you. If you start taking the medication as soon as an outbreak begins, you may shorten or even stop the episode.

How does someone get Hepatitis A?

Sexually acquired Hepatitis A is acquired by rimming and/or swallowing something that has been infected with faeces (poo).

What are the symptoms?

Most people notice no hepatitis symptoms at all especially in the early stages.

Symptoms of hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-coloured urine, pale faeces (poo) and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Hepatitis A symptoms can take some weeks to appear after you have picked up the infection.

What does a hepatitis A test involve?

Testing for hepatitis A involves a blood test that looks for your body’s reaction to the infections (antibodies).

What does treatment involve?

Treatment for Hepatitis A usually involves making sure that you are not dehydrated and your blood salts are okay, sometimes this involves having a drip of fluids into your vein in hospital. There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A and it usually clears on its own.

Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not lead to long term liver problems and is rarely fatal. It can cause debilitating symptoms and very occasionally acute liver failure, which can be fatal.

Is there a vaccine for Hepatitis A?

Both hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccination. The hepatitis A and B vaccines are freely available in sexual health services. Most centres use a combined vaccine given as three doses which protects you against both hepatitis A&B.

Tests: what you need to know