Hepatitis A

Think may have been exposed to hepatitis A? Here’s what you need to know.

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver inflammation. After a brief illness, most people get better on their own.

How is hepatitis A spread?

  • Hepatitis A is passed in the feces of an infected person.
  • The most common way to get it is from eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with the feces of an infected person.
  • Guys can get hepatitis A from licking the anus of a guy who has been infected.

How do I know if I have hepatitis A?

  • Symptoms usually develop within two to eight weeks after infection. Sometimes the symptoms are very mild; many people don’t realize they have the virus. Symptoms may include a general flu-like feeling with loss of appetite, fever, nausea and vomiting. Dark-coloured urine, clay-coloured feces, yellow skin and/or eyes and tenderness on your right side below your ribs are also symptoms.
  • Symptoms might last from two weeks to several months, but you will recover. After recovering from hepatitis A, you will be immune to reinfection (but you can still get infected with other hepatitis viruses like hepatitis B or C).

How do I test for hepatitis A?

Be honest with a health care professional about your sexual history and symptoms. You may be asked to have a blood test to confirm the presence of Hepatitis A antibodies.

What do I do if I have hepatitis A?

Take it easy, get lots of rest and stay away from hard work and strenuous workouts at the gym. Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol. If your appetite isn’t very good, eat smaller meals more often.

How do I protect myself?

  • There is an effective vaccine that will prevent infection; it is free for gay guys.
  • You could also share a shower or suggest one to your partner before you lick his anus.
  • Avoid drinking water that could be contaminated with fecal matter, especially when you are travelling in countries in the developing world. Avoid eating fruit or vegetables that have been washed in contaminated water.