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Sexual health and LGBT population
Living with HIV
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
Hepatitis A and hepatitis E virus are primarily transmitted via the fecal-oral route (i.e. from the anus to the mouth - for example when hands are not washed after a bowel movement), by human contact, by uncooked foods (shellfish, fruits and vegetables) and by contaminated water. This is one of the reasons why the risk for hepatitis A and E is greater in developing countries...the water is often contaminated with fecal matter or effluent, thereby contaminating everything it comes in contact with. Hepatitis A is frequently responsible for outbreaks in homosexual communities or in men having sex with men, and this secondary to oral-anal sexual contact a.k.a. "rimming".
Hepatitis B and D virus are primarily transmitted via unprotected sexual relations (including oral sex and penetration, whether vaginal or anal), the sharing of contaminated syringes, blood and/or infected biological liquids. Please note, your sexual partner may not be aware of their hepatitis status (they may not feel sick and not know they have the virus). This is where STI testing becomes important, and vaccination is effective at prevention. Hepatitis B may be picked up from your infected mother during birth…this occurs much more frequently in countries endemic (high rates) for hepatitis B (Asia, Africa, etc.).
Finally, hepatitis C virus is transmitted via blood-borne contacts (the sharing of contaminated syringes, blood transfusions, infected re-usable tattoo needles and non-sterilized body piercing instruments). The risk of contracting hepatitis C infection from sexual relations is quite rare, with the exception of men having sex with men (MHSM). At birth, infected mothers may pass on hepatitis C to their newborn approximately 5 % of the time. This risk increases to 25 - 30 % if the pregnant women is coinfected with HIV-Hepatitis C.
Water, food or casual contact (school or work) does not transmit Hepatitis B and C.