Narconon Arrowhead Issues Guide to Hepatitis Prevention

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates the month of May as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States.

hepatitis prevention
Hepatitis prevention is an important issue for drug users, especially people who inject drugs.

Hepatitis Awareness Month

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its public health partners join together in raising public awareness of viral hepatitis during the month of May. Throughout Hepatitis Awareness month, people are encouraged to learn about Viral Hepatitis, its risks and consequences, and its prevention.

Hepatitis Testing Day is recognized on May 19th, and people who are at risk of Viral Hepatitis are encouraged to get tested.

A number of populations are at risk of Viral Hepatitis. Injection drug users who use and/or share contaminated needles or other drug-injection equipment are one of the populations at high risk of Viral Hepatitis infection.

Narconon Arrowhead, a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education center located in Southeastern, Oklahoma, is issuing the following guide to Hepatitis prevention in support of Hepatitis Awareness Month.

Guide to Hepatitis Prevention

Learn the Facts

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most frequently caused by a virus. It can also be caused by heavy alcohol use, some medications, toxins and certain medical conditions.

The most common types of Viral Hepatitis in the United States are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

The two most common types of Viral Hepatitis caused by drug use are Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, though there is risk of Hepatitis C, as well.

Hepatitis A:
➢ It is an acute liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV).
➢ It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.
➢ Hepatitis A does not lead to a chronic Hepatitis infection.

Hepatitis A is transmitted by:
➢ Ingesting even microscopic amounts of fecal matter.
➢ Ingesting contaminated drinks or food.
➢ Contact with drinks, food or objects contaminated by the feces of an infected person.
➢ Close person-to-person contact are also means of transmission.

Prevention:
➢ There is a vaccination to prevent Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B:
➢ It is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).
➢ It ranges in severity from a mild illness of a few weeks duration to a serious long-term illness.
➢ It can lead to liver cancer or liver disease.

Acute Hepatitis B:
➢ It is a short-term illness caused by the Hepatitis B virus.
➢ It occurs within the initial 6 months after exposure to the virus.
➢ The acute infection can lead to a chronic infection, but does not always do so.

Chronic Hepatitis B:
➢ It is a long-term illness caused by the Hepatitis B virus remaining in the person’s body.
➢ It is a serious disease, and can result in long-term health problems or death.

Hepatitis B is transmitted by:
➢ Contact with blood, semen or other body fluids infected with the virus.
➢ Sex with infected persons.
➢ Sharing contaminated drug-injection needles.
➢ An infected mother passing the disease to her newborn.

Prevention:
➢ A Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended by the CDC for at-risk adults.

Hepatitis C:
➢ It is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
➢ A Hepatitis C infection sometimes causes an acute illness lasting a few weeks.
➢ It can become a serious, life-long illness.
➢ It often becomes a chronic condition leading to cirrhosis of the liver and/or liver cancer.

Acute Hepatitis C:
➢ It is a short-term illness occurring within 6 months of initial exposure to the Hepatitis C virus.
➢ Acute Hepatitis C commonly leads to a chronic infection.
Chronic Hepatitis C:
➢ It is a serious disease.
➢ It can result in long-term health problems or death.

Hepatitis C is transmitted by:
➢ Contact with blood of an infected person.
➢ Sharing contaminated drug-injection needles.
➢ Sharing other drug-injection equipment.

Prevention

There is no vaccination to prevent Hepatitis C. Avoiding injection drug use or other high risk behavior is recommended.

The CDC recommends that anyone who has been an injection drug user get tested for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infection.

Narconon Arrowhead encourages anyone currently injecting drugs to seek drug rehabilitation treatment, and recommends an outcome-based program with proven long-term recovery results. For more information visit our web site http://www.narcononarrowhead.org or call 800-468-6933.

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Bobby Newman
@narcononarrowhd
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