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World Hepatitis Day
July 28th is World Hepatitis Day!
According to the CDC website, “Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.
Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Key Facts about Viral Hepatitis in Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)
- Among adults, an estimated 10% of new Hepatitis A cases and 20% of new Hepatitis B cases occur in MSM.
- MSM are at increased risk for Hepatitis C if they are involved in high-risk behaviors.
- There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C and testing for Hepatitis C is not recommended for MSM unless they were born from 1945 through 1965, have HIV, or are engaging in risky behaviors. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
For more information on the global Hepatitis epidemic, read the World Hepatitis Alliance Annual Report.
For more information on conditions that affect the liver, contact the Liver Foundation.