Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by an infection with a virus.
In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are infections with hepatitis A, B or C viruses. Each virus is different, but all impact the liver.
Viral hepatitis infections can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term or lifetime).
Most people with viral hepatitis have NO symptoms.
Healthcare providers usually test for hepatitis viruses only when they are aware of retain risk factors or they suspect liver inflammation or damage.
Since most people have no symptoms of viral hepatitis, it is important to test for viral hepatitis and vaccination status. Vaccines can help prevent hepatitis A and B.
Learn more about the most common types of viral hepatitis by clicking on the links below:
Before discussing a diagnosis of hepatitis, it is important to think about the potential impact of disclosure in personal and professional situations.
Alcohol can cause serious problems for someone infected with viral hepatitis.
Drinking alcohol with viral hepatitis is like adding gasoline to a fire. If you can't stop drinking entirely, cut back as much as possible. Help yourself by cutting back day by day.
Hepatitis infections cause liver inflammation that leads to scarring (fibrosis), cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. Alcohol can speed up liver damage. People with viral hepatitis who drink alcohol shorten the time it takes for serious liver damage like cirrhosis and liver cancer to occur.
Alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of hepatitis treatment. In fact, some doctors will not treat hepatitis in patients who consume alcohol. There are many resources to help people cut back or eliminate alcohol use. Contact your healthcare provider, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or your local health department for help. Remember, your liver is essential.
Drinking alcohol when you have hepatitis can shorten your life.
Alcohol and Hepatitis
HepTREC Viral Hepatitis Education Tool Kit
A viral hepatitis education toolkit designed to provide you and your clients with vital information is available from HepTREC. HepTREC designed most of the materials, but also included materials produced by other reputable health and social service agencies. The kit contains a staff guide, folders with client handouts and CD-ROM storage of kit information.
To obtain the HepTREC Viral Hepatitis Tool Kit, contact:
Amy B. Jessop, PhD, MPH
HepTREC Director of Research and Education
toll free: 1-866-642-5227