Treatment For Viral Hepatitis A, B, and C in Washington, DC

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Viral hepatitis is an umbrella term for a group of viruses that cause infection, inflammation and damage to the liver. There are 5 main types of viral hepatitis, each with varying symptoms and severity. While treatment for viral hepatitis depends on the type and severity of the infection, our compassionate providers at Washington Health Institute specialize in treating hepatitis A, B, and C, and can develop a customized treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Hepatitis D and E are rare in the United States. For more information about hepatitis D and hepatitis E, visit the CDC website.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. Hepatitis A is very contagious and can be contracted by consuming contaminated food, through sexual activity with an infected person or by sharing injectable drugs.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis A

Most people with hepatitis A do not have a long-lasting illness or symptoms. Symptoms of hepatitis A can last up to 2 months and include the following symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Jaundice (when the skin and eyes appear yellowish in color)
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Treatment For Hepatitis A

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Hepatitis A usually goes away on its own after a couple of months. HAV infection can complicate chronic liver disease and may rarely result in fulminant hepatitis with liver failure in those who have no underlying liver disease.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen or other body fluids from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Not all people newly infected with Hepatitis B have symptoms, but for those that do, symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (when the skin and eyes appear yellowish in color)

For many people, hepatitis B is a short-term illness. For others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection that can lead to serious, even life-threatening health issues like cirrhosis or liver cancer. Your risk for developing chronic infection depends on how old you were when you first contracted the infection. About 90% of infants with hepatitis B will develop chronic infection, whereas only 2%–6% of people diagnosed with hepatitis B as adults develop chronic infection.

Treatment For Hepatitis B

For people with chronic infection, several antiviral medications are available, such as Entecavir or Tenofovir. Patients with chronic infections require regular monitoring to prevent liver damage and/or hepatocellular carcinoma, otherwise known as liver cancer. The average treatment duration is between 10 to 48 months. With treatment and monitoring, the virus can be completely suppressed in 71%-89% of patients, and partially suppressed in 96.7% of patients.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is mostly spread through contaminated blood. In some cases, it can be transmitted through tattoos, and in rare cases, through sex. Those who received a blood transfusion before 1992 are at very high risk of having hepatitis C. Hepatitis C causes long-term (chronic) liver inflammation and damage resulting in scars (Fibrosis). A heavy amount of liver scars is called cirrhosis which can happen in about 20% of patients with hepatitis C.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis C

This infection can go undetected for several years, and patients may not realize that they have been infected and that the disease has progressed to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer until they begin displaying symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms do not present themselves until the very late stages of the disease, which renders treatment less effective. Therefore, those who are at risk for hepatitis C should be tested, regardless of how well they feel.

Treatment For Hepatitis C

Your provider may prescribe antiviral medication to manage your symptoms, and in more extreme cases, recommend a liver transplant. At Washington Health Institute, we offer two types of oral medications for hepatitis C: Epclusa and Mavyret. A regimen of 1 to 3 pills per day, for 8 to 12 weeks, eliminates the virus with almost 100% efficacy.

Start Treatment For Viral Hepatitis Today

If you have been diagnosed with viral hepatitis, or suspect that you may have viral hepatitis, contact our team at Washington Health Institute in Washington, D.C. Our experienced providers can review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, address any questions or concerns you may have and develop a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs. Fill out our online appointment request form or call us at 202-525-5175 to get started.