Men's Hepatitis Outreach
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at risk for Hepatitis A and B, two sexually transmitted diseases. The crglrc has long supported a major awareness and prevention campaign to let MSM know the risks and that, through a combination vaccine, one can become immune to both Hepatitis A and B.
Why is this new vaccine so important?
Because hepatitis is a serious threat:
Men who have sex with other men are at a higher risk of getting hepatitis A and hepatitis B than the general public.
Hepatitis can cause serious liver damage and can be especially harmful to men, particularly those with other health issues, like HIV and hepatitis C.
How are hepatitis A and hepatitis B spread?
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are caused by viruses.
Hepatitis A is transmitted by a fecal (shit) to oral route through sexual activities such as anal-oral contact (rimming), butt-play, and handling condoms or sex toys which have been in or around the asshole and then touching the mouth.
Washing before anal sex can reduce but may not entirely eliminate the risk of becoming infected with hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and semen (cum) like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But hepatitis B is much easier to catch than HIV because the virus can live outside the body much longer than HIV.
Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing drug needles and having unprotected sex.
Using a condom–correctly and every time you have sex–will lessen your chances of getting hepatitis B.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis A and B?
The symptoms for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are much alike:
- feeling tired
- not wanting to eat
- being sick to your stomach
- jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- dark urine
People with hepatitis A are sick for as many as five weeks. Getting back to normal can take much longer. Hepatitis B can be a prolonged and more serious illness, and some people never recover from it, becoming long term "carriers" and possibly developing liver failure.
What can I do to reduce my risk of hepatitis A and B?
An excellent way to avoid getting hepatitis A or hepatitis B is through the vaccination of a series of three shots over a year’s period of time. After you get these shots, you don’t ever have to worry about hepatitis A or hepatitis B again.
If you have health insurance, many insurance companies will pay for the vaccinations. However, the doctor may have to write down a reason to give you shots – for example, that you are at risk because you have sex with other men.