Hepatitis B and C

In a nutshell

  • Hepatitis B and C are inflammations of the liver caused by a virus.
  • Hepatitis B is mainly transmitted:
    • during sexual intercourse where the penis penetrates the mouth, the vagina or the anus.
    • by blood when drug injection or inhalation equipment is shared;
    • by blood during tattooing or piercing using contaminated equipment.
  • Hepatitis C is mainly transmitted:
    • by blood when drug injection or inhalation equipment is shared;
    • by blood during tattooing or piercing using contaminated equipment.

Symptoms and complications

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Most people infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C have no symptoms.

If symptoms show up, those of hepatitis B are:

  • fatigue;
  • fever;
  • stomach pains;
  • loss of appetite;
  • spells of nausea with or without vomiting;
  • sometimes jaundice.

If symptoms show up, those of hepatitis C are:

  • fatigue;
  • loss of appetite;
  • nausea or stomach ache
  • in some cases, jaundice.

Consequence of hepatitis B and C for health:

  • You can develop cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.

Specific characteristics of hepatitis B:

  • Very often, the hepatitis B virus disappears by itself and the infected person is then immunized against it. When it continues to be present in the organism, the person is said to be a “carrier” of the virus.
  • If this person does not get better, he or she then becomes a carrier of the hepatitis B virus and can transmit the infection for the rest of his or her life.

Specific characteristics of hepatitis C:

  • Most persons infected by the hepatitis C virus will become carriers of the virus. In some cases, the virus sometimes disappears on its own.
  • If this person does not get better, he or she then becomes a carrier of the hepatitis C virus and can transmit the infection for the rest of his or her life.

Screening and treatment

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Screening

The screening test for hepatitis B and C is carried out by means of a blood sample.

Treatment of hepatitis B

Treatments can limit the seriousness of the infection and sometimes allow recovery.

Treatment of hepatitis C

In the chronic carrier, treatments can limit the seriousness of the infection and, quite often allow it to be cured.

Protection

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  • There is a vaccine against hepatitis B but none against hepatitis C.
  • When you have sexual intercourse, use a condom.
    • A condom must be used before any contact of the penis with the mouth, the vagina or the anus.
    • A condom must be used from start to finish of sexual intercourse.
  • To avoid blood-borne transmission, the best thing is still obviously not to inject or inhale drugs.
  • If you consume drugs by injection or inhalation, avoid reuse of equipment.

In terms of figures :

75 % of those infected with chlamydia don’t know they are

Getting help

To get a screening test

  • Call Info-Santé 8-1-1
  • Talk it over with the nurse in your school or CLSC
  • Talk it over with your doctor

 

For any
other question

Consult Tel-jeunes

Tel-Jeunes Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux