Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are three main types: A, B and C - B and C being increasingly common among people living with HIV.
What happens if you have hepatitis?
Hepatitis can be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis happens after initial infection and is short term. It can lead to chronic hepatitis which is long term.
Some types of hepatitis - such as hepatitis A - only cause acute infection.
Others can be long term (chronic) and cause lasting damage to the liver. Very serious cases can lead to liver failure or cancer.
Some types of hepatitis can be vaccinated against and treated.
Viral causes of hepatitis
There are seven viruses that are known to cause hepatitis. These are designated by the letters A to G. However, the cause of some hepatitis is still unknown, leading scientists to believe there are other viruses that have yet to be discovered.
The three most common viral forms of hepatitis are:
The other forms of hepatitis - D, E, F and G - are very rare.
'Co-infection' with hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus is increasingly becoming a major cause of illness in people with HIV. Both these viruses affect the liver, can make you very ill and in some cases can be fatal. But there are treatments, and these can work well in people with HIV.
What does the liver do?
The liver is a large organ on the right hand side of your body. It has many important functions including turning food into energy and filtering toxins- including alcohol and medicines.
Hepatitis means ‘inflammation of the liver’ - this can happen because of a viral infection or because of exposure to alcohol.
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