Illinois action blog

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spreading Information: Hepatitis Awareness Week

This week, July 23rd to July 29th, marks the 2012 Hepatitis Awareness Week, an event aimed at increasing public knowledge about the infection, the impact it has, and how to prevent its spread.  Being largely concerned with the prevention of STIs, we at Planned Parenthood Illinois Action would like to take the time to talk about hepatitis and the services we offer to deter its prevalence.

Viral Hepatitis refers to a collection of infections that all cause inflammation of the liver. These infections are the number one contributor to liver cancer and liver transplants, and can often result in chronic liver disease and other liver-related problems.  It is estimated that 4.4 million Americans are currently living with hepatitis, most of whom have one of the three most common infections: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  While the World Hepatitis Alliance's Annual Report notes considerable improvements in hepatitis prevention and awareness, there are still many improvements to be made.  Most infected Americans are unaware that they have hepatitis, despite the fact that a test can accurately inform a patient of their status.

Each virus is transmitted slightly differently; Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted through ingestion of fecal matter from an infected person, Hepatitis B is primarily spread through bodily fluid exchanges with an infected person including blood, saliva, and semen, and Hepatitis C is almost exclusively spread through blood exchange, though sexual contact with an infected person infrequently leads to contraction.

While hepatitis can carry with it many symptoms such as fevers, abdominal pain, nausea, jaundice, and others, contraction of hepatitis can only be confirmed through an administered blood test.  Hepatitis A & B can be easily prevented through a vaccination, though there is currently no vaccination for Hepatitis C.  Vaccination services and hepatitis tests can be received at many of our Planned Parenthood health centers; please use our health center finder to find the one nearest you.

Hepatitis Awareness Week is aimed at making sure you and your loved ones can make healthy, informed choices.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us, visit Planned Parenthood of Illinois' homepage, or investigate hepatitis further on the CDC hepatitis information page

This post was created by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action.


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