Hepatitis, Herpes and HPV
Known as the 3 H's -- these are the most common viral STDs.
Hepatitis A & B: two similar viruses that can cause liver damage.
- Hep-A is mostly transmitted through feces.
- Hep-B can be transmitted via blood or body fluids containing blood and through intravenous drug use.
- You can be vaccinated for Hep-A & B. Immunizations require having three injections over the course of a few months.
- Symptoms can include jaundice, fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite, but roughly 30% of people infected with Hep-B are asymptomatic.
Hepatitis C: a virus that causes liver damage.
- Hep-C is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.
- In the United States, the primary route of transmission is through intraveneous drug use.
- Some cases of sexual contact have been reported as the route of transmission for Hep-C; however, these involved coming into contact with blood via intense assplay or blood sports.
- Most people experience no signs or symptoms of infection. Symptoms can include, however, jaundice, fatigue, dark urine, nausea, and the loss of appetite.
- Unlike Hep-A & B, there is no vaccination for Hep-C.
- Project Inform created an excellent fact sheet about Hep C.
Herpes: a disease that has two different viral strains
- Herpes is transmitted via sexual contact with herpes sores.
- HSV-1 causes oral herpes, or cold sores.
- HSV-2 causes genital herpes, marked by small, painful blisters that itch or burn on, or near, the genitals.
- The blisters last 1-3 weeks, and may disappear.
- There is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten or prevent outbreaks.
HPV: the most commonly transmitted STD.
- HPV is an acronym for the Human PapillomaVirus.
- It is transmitted through contact with sores and their associated outbreaks and shedding, as well as through oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
- The vast majority of people with HPV don’t develop any symptoms, but certain types of HPV can cause genital warts that can be removed surgically.
- Other strains of HPV have been linked to precancerous dysplasia, which can lead to cervical cancer in women and anorectal cancer in men.
- There is no treatment for the virus itself, but in 90% of the cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV infection naturally within two years.
- For people who are sexually active, regular pap smear tests through a medical provider can detect dysplasia that might cause either anorectal or cervical cancer. For men who regularly bottom in anal sex, it is important to preventively screen for anal dysplasia.