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I don't know very much about Hep A/B/C. Should people get tested for them at some point? Next time I go to get my routine tests should I get those done? Or is there no concern if there's no symptoms present?

Hi

Hepatitis A, B, C are different viruses that affect the liver. It is common for them not to show symptoms if passed to you. They are passed in different ways so it really depends on what is happening in your life.

Hepatitis A is passed by the fecal oral route which means to get Hepatitis A you need to get some of the poo (faeces) from someone with Hepatitis A into your mouth. This can happen with certain sexual practices like rimming (mouth to anus), drinking tap water in countries were the water/sewer systems are not the best. No one ever keeps Hepatitis A in their body. It just comes and goes. There is a good vaccine for Hepatitis A. Most people do not get tested for Hepatitis A, if they are at risk to hepatitis A they usually just get the vaccine.
More information on Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A Vaccine information

Hepatitis B can be passed via blood and other body fluids. The most common way it is passed is from sex, sharing something that could have someone else’s blood on it like a needle or passed from mother to child at birth. There is a good vaccine available to protect people against hepatitis B. We find that most people born in BC in 1980 or later got the Hepatitis B vaccine as an infant or at school. There is no need for testing if you are vaccinated against hepatitis B. If you never got the hepatitis B vaccine you can either get the vaccine or if something has happened in your life; like being born in a country that has a lot of hepatitis B, being poked by a needle, etc… It might be worthwhile doing a hepatitis B test as the virus can stay in the body of some people and your health would need to be monitored by a doctor.
More information On Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B Vaccine information.

Hepatitis C is mainly in the blood and most commonly passed by sharing injecting drug equipment; it can also pass with sharing snorting equipment. It can pass by sex but the chance is low. Currently there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. We would offer Hepatitis C testing to anyone who has shared drug equipment that could pass blood like needles, snorting straws etc… We don’t offer hepatitis C testing as part of an STI checkup unless the person’s partner has Hepatitis C. We are offering an annual hepatitis C test for men who have sex with men as we have seen some hepatitis C pass from sex, but we are not sure how common it is for this to happen. Common for people not to get symptoms with hepatitis C, there is treatment available for hepatitis C.
More information on Hepatitis C

The next time you go for your routine test I would just discuss this with the health provider you see. They would be able to recommend what tests and vaccines would be good to get. If you feel you could be at risk for one of the hepatitis but don’t feel comfortable talking about your situation you could always request the test.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

This answer was posted on February 3, 2016

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