Hepatitis A Outbreaks in Gay and Bisexual Men – Get Vaccinated
Widespread outbreaks of hepatitis A are occurring across the United States. Many of these outbreaks are affecting gay and bisexual men. Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. Use Vaccine Finderexternal icon to locate hepatitis A vaccination services near you.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of people who are infected and can survive on surfaces for several months. Hepatitis A is most commonly spread from person to person, which is how people are getting infected in the current outbreaks. This is happening through close personal contact and sex with an infected person.
Hepatitis A is very contagious, and people can spread the virus before they get symptoms. People who get hepatitis A may feel sick for a few weeks to several months. While most people recover and do not have lasting liver damage, some people need to be hospitalized. Hepatitis A can cause death, especially for people who are older or have other health problems.
Outbreaks are causing an increase in the number of people with hepatitis A.
Since the hepatitis A vaccine was first recommended in 1996, rates of hepatitis A have declined dramatically in the United States. In 2015, there were only 1,390 reported cases of hepatitis A in the nation. However, since the current outbreaks were first identified in late 2016, there have been more than 22,000 cases reported, mostly among groups most at-risk. Severe complications, high rates of hospitalization, and at least 200 deaths have occurred nationwide as a result of these outbreaks.
Gay and bisexual men should get vaccinated for hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is easily prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. Since 2006, the hepatitis A vaccine has been recommended for all children at age one year. This means, however, that many adults did not get the hepatitis A vaccine as a child and therefore are not protected against the disease. The vaccine is recommended for adults at risk, including gay and bisexual men. One dose of hepatitis A vaccine has been shown to control outbreaks and provides up to 95% protection in healthy adults. People who are at risk for hepatitis A should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Use Vaccine Finderexternal icon to locate hepatitis A vaccine services near you.