Isis is correct that both hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual contact.
For Hepatitis B, sexual contact is in fact the most common way adults become infected. Hepatitis B is transmitted through direct contact with blood, semen, or vaginal secretions, so it can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted by injecting drug users who share needles or other injecting equipment contaminated with hepatitis B-infected blood.
Hepatitis A is transmitted primarily through oral contact with feces. While this happens most commonly through contaminated food and water, it can also happen through sexual contact, especially oral-anal sex.
While most people with become infected with hepatitis A will have a short-term illness and recover completely, some people will require hospitalization and/or have prolonged symptoms. Chronic infection with hepatitis B can be far more serious. Hepatitis B infection can cause cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, and eventually death.
The good news, as Isis also mentioned, is that both hepatitis A and B can be prevented through vaccination. Hepatitis A vaccination requires two shots, spaced at least six months apart. There are three shots in the hepatitis B series. Adults 18 and over also have the option of a combination vaccine that offers protection for both hepatitis A and B. This vaccine, called TwinRix, is given in three shots over a six month period.
You might want to talk to your doctor about whether or not vaccination would be recommended for you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hepatitis A vaccination if you:
*live in a community with a high rate of hepatitis A.
*are a man who has sex with men.
*use street drugs.
*work or travel to countries with high rates of hepatitis A.
*have long-term liver disease.
*receive blood products to help your blood clot.
*work with hepatitis A-infected animals or work with hepatitis A virus in research setting.
CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination if you:
*have sex with or live in the same house as a person with hepatitis B virus infection.
*have sex with more than one partner.
*seek care in a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing or treatment, or drug treatment.
*are a man who has sex with other men.
*have a job that involves contact with human blood.
*are on the staff of, or a client in, an institution for the developmentally disabled.
*are a hemodialysis patient or have end-stage renal disease.
have HIV infection.
*are a dialysis patient.
*have chronic liver disease.
*live or travel for more than 6 months a year in countries where hepatitis B is common.
*seek care in a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, or drug treatment.
*are a prisoner in a correctional facility.
You can check out the link Isis provided for more information. Feel free to post again if you have more questions.
ASHA STI Message Board Moderator