Sunday, September 4, 2011

Liver Infection & Safe Sex Practice

Prior to getting involved in any kind of sexual activity, it is of utmost importance to know the risks and take steps to stay protected. Hepatitis, of which the most common forms are Hepatitis A, B & C, is a liver disease that can be transmitted sexually. Here are few safe practices and dos and don’ts you may follow to protect both, yourself and your partner. 

SEXUAL TRANSMISSION OF HEPATITIS

Though Hepatitis A is not usually transmitted through sexual activity, any oral/fecal contact, including that which may occur during sexual activity, is a high risk for contracting Hepatitis A. This can include Anal sex, Anal or fecal contact to the mouth (e.g. from fingering partner’s anus or handling a used condom after anal sex then putting fingers on/in mouth).

Hepatitis B is significantly more infectious than AIDS and carries a high risk of sexual transmission. Contraction of Hepatitis B may take place as a result of exposure to blood, semen, vaginal discharge or other bodily fluids during sex. This can include unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, sharing of sex toys and also non-sexual activities that may carry a risk of exposure viz. tattooing, body piercing, manicures or pedicures with non-sterile equipment or inks and sharing of needles or other drug equipment.

The contribution of sexual activity to the risk of contracting Hepatitis C is very low. However, any activity that may lead to exposure of blood does carry some risk. This may include rough sex where blood is present, vaginal sex with a woman during menstruation and other non-sexual activities that may carry a risk of exposure like tattooing, body piercing, manicures or pedicures with non-sterile equipment or inks and sharing of needles or other drug equipment.

PROTECTION DURING SEXUAL ACTIVITY

Hepatitis A
Vaccination is a safe option as a measure of protection from Hepatitis A. The vaccine is given in two injections 6 to 12 months apart. Further, maintain hygiene like washing hands carefully after bowel movements, after sex, before making food and before eating, drinking or smoking. Before having sex, ensure that you have kept your genital and anal areas clean. Always use a condom during sex.

Hepatitis B
Here again, a vaccine is available as an effective protective measure. Get vaccinated. Hepatitis B vaccines are given in three doses over a period of six months. Further, practise safe sex. Always ensure to sterilize sex toys before and after use and avoid sharing personal hygiene items that may retain traces of blood, including toothbrushes, nail clippers, razors or nail files.

Hepatitis C
Since no vaccine has yet been found for Hepatitis C, the best approach is to adopt safer sex practices and take precautions to avoid any accidental contact with blood. Use condoms during vaginal, oral or anal sex and do not share personal hygiene items that may retain traces of blood, including toothbrushes, nail clippers, razors or nail files.

In any case, whenever you suspect that you or your partner may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, B or C, contact your health care provider promptly.

Visit Hospitals in Hyderabad for more details.

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