Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts: Hepatitis A (caused by hepatitis A virus)

On this page:
Signs and symptoms
Transmission
Complications
Prevention
Testing and Treatment
Contacts for more information

See also: HIV/STD/Hepatitis Risk Assessment
Minnesota Department of Health's integrated risk assessment tool for health and social service providers.

Signs and Symptoms

Hepatitis A Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Dark urine or light-color stool
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Begin 15-50 days after exposure

Transmission

Hepatitis A is spread by:  

  • Fecal-oral transmission (food-borne transmission)
  • Oral sex
  • Finger/anal sex

Complications

Hepatitis A:

  • Hepatitis A can spread to sex partners
  • Hepatitis A causes no long-term liver damage and usually does not cause death.
  • There is no chronic carrier state.
  • Having had the disease produces lifelong immunity against re-infection.

Prevention

Recommendations to Reduce the Spread of Hepatitis A:

  • Wash hands after bowel movement.
  • Avoid oral/anal and finger/anal sex.
  • Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children over 12 months of age, adolescents and sexually active adults.
  • Immune globulin injection may be given within 14 days of exposure.

Testing and Treatment

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • There is no effective treatment to shorten course of acute infection.

For more information, contact:

Immunizations, Tuberculosis and International Health Section
Minnesota Department of Health
P.O. Box 64975
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0975
(651) 201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414 (toll free)

Minnesota Family Planning and STD Hotline ATTN: Non-MDH link
1-800-783-2287 Voice/TTY

CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines Attention: Non-MDH link
1-800-227-8922; 1-800-243-7889 TTY
1-800-344-7432 (Spanish)

CDC Hepatitis Hotline ATTN: Non-MDH link
(404) 332-4555