Wellness Update - - EXPLORE -

The hep­ati­tis B virus (HBV) is trans­mit­ted be­tween peo­ple through con­tact with the blood or other body flu­ids (i.e. saliva, se­men and vagi­nal fluid) of an in­fected per­son. Please note that it is very un­likely it can be con­tracted through kiss­ing or shar­ing cutlery. The hep­ati­tis C virus (HCV) is spread through di­rect con­tact with in­fected blood. Very rarely it may be passed on through other body flu­ids. Most com­mon routes of trans­mis­sion for hep­ati­tis B or C viruses are the fol­low­ing: • Blood trans­fu­sions and blood prod­ucts us­ing un­screened blood (in most coun­tries, but not all, blood has been screened since about 1990) • Med­i­cal or den­tal in­ter­ven­tions with­out

ad­e­quate ster­il­iza­tion of equip­ment • Mother to in­fant dur­ing child­birth • Shar­ing equip­ment for in­ject­ing drugs • Shar­ing straws, notes etc. for snort­ing co­caine • Shar­ing ra­zors, tooth­brushes or

other house­hold ar­ti­cles • Tat­too­ing and body pierc­ing if done

us­ing un­ster­il­ized equip­ment In the case of hep­ati­tis B, in­fec­tion can also oc­cur through hav­ing un­pro­tected sex with an in­fected per­son. If you think you could have been at risk from ei­ther hep­ati­tis B or C, it is im­por­tant to get tested. Get­ting im­mu­nized is the best way of pre­vent­ing hep­ati­tis B in­fec­tion. More than one bil­lion doses of the hep­ati­tis B vac­cine have been used since the early 1980s and it has been shown to be ef­fec­tive in ap­prox­i­mately 95% of cases. There is cur­rently no vac­cine for hep­ati­tis C.

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