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hepititis c & d
Sep 8, 2013

I am staying with a old friend that has both hepatitis c & d, can I get infected by any other ways other than sex?

Response from Dr. Taylor

Hepatitis C is only spread through the blood of an infected person. We cannot get infected by living with a friend with hepatitis C, just by living together. The only things to avoid are sharing household bathroom objects that may contain tiny amounts of blood not visible to our naked eye -- so avoid sharing toothbrushes and razors with your friend. Otherwise there is no risk.

There is a hepatitis D virus, HDV, also called hepatitis Delta. It cannot replicate (make more viruses) or cause infection without help from the hepatitis B virus. So HDV only infects persons who are simultaneously infected with hepatitis B (you catch both viruses at the same time) or persons already infected with chronic hepatitis B (you were exposed to HDV at a time when you already had chronic hepatitis B). HDV is not found at equal rates in all parts of the world. For example, it is rare in U.S. When both HDV and hepatitis B exist together in a person, the person can develop more severe liver disease than may occur with hepatitis B alone. HDV may be diagnosed with a blood test, in persons with hepatitis B. There is a great tool to prevent HDV: the hepatitis B vaccine, because without hepatitis B, one cannot catch HDV.

So, again, when a person has hepatitis D, she/he also has hepatitis B. If your friend truly has hepatitis D, she/he also has hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is an infection ALL people should be protected against. Ideally we should ALL be vaccinated at birth. If this was not possible, everyone should get tested, and if NOT infected, get vaccinated. So for you, irrespective of this visit, knowing that you are protected against hepatitis B is ideal.

Hepatitis B is spread via a number of bodily fluids, and is a classic sexually transmitted infection. Hepatitis B can be spread via household members. The risk is lower with a brief visit among adults, than when children are raised long-term together in households without access to good sanitation.



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