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Health Information For Teens
Hepatitis (pronounced: hep-uh-TIE-tiss) is an inflammation of the liver. The liver, in the right side of the abdomen, is an important organ that processes nutrients, metabolizes medicines, and helps clear toxins from the body.
Most cases of hepatitis are caused by a virus. The three most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. (Hepatitis viruses D and E are rare in the United States.)
Hepatitis that’s not caused by a virus can happen from things such as:
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is contagious, usually spreading to others through food, drink, or objects contaminated by feces (poop) containing HAV. The hepatitis A vaccine has helped to make the infection rare in the United States and other developed countries.
Although a hepatitis A infection can cause severe symptoms, unlike some other hepatitis viruses, it rarely leads to long-lasting liver damage. People who have recovered from a hepatitis A infection have immunity to the virus and won’t get it again.
Read more about hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B is a more serious infection. It can lead to cirrhosis (permanent scarring) of the liver, liver failure, or liver cancer, causing severe illness and even death.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) spreads from person to person through blood or other body fluids. It also can be passed from an infected mother to her unborn baby. In the United States, this most commonly happens through unprotected sex with someone who has the disease or from injecting drugs with shared needles that aren’t sterilized.
The hepatitis B vaccine is approved for people of all ages to prevent HBV infection.
Read more about hepatitis B.
Like hepatitis B, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads from person to person through blood or other body fluids, and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. The most common way people become infected is by sharing drug paraphernalia such as needles and straws. People also can get hepatitis C from unprotected sex with an infected partner. And it can be passed from an infected mother to her unborn baby.
Hepatitis C is the most serious type of hepatitis. It’s now one of the most common reasons for liver transplants in adults. Scientists have been trying for decades to develop a hepatitis C vaccine, but none has been successful yet. Fortunately, medicines can now treat people with hepatitis C and cure them in most cases.
Read more about hepatitis C.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The hepatitis A vaccine has helped to make the infection rare in the United States.
Hepatitis B can move from one person to another through blood and other body fluids. For this reason, people usually get it through unprotected sex or by sharing needles.
Find out what the experts have to say.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through blood or other body fluids, and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. The most common way people become infected is by sharing drug paraphernalia.
Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little “ouch” moment protects you from some major health problems.
If your liver isn’t working properly, it can affect your overall health. Find out why doctors do liver function tests and what’s involved for teens.
You’ve probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
Will using steroids transform you into the most powerful athlete your coach has ever seen? Read this article to learn the facts on steroid use.
Wondering whether you should pierce one of your precious parts? Read about what to expect.
What’s the safest way to get a tattoo? Does it hurt? What can go wrong? Knowing the facts will help you decide whether a tattoo is a good idea for you.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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