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Which vaccinations adolescents need?

Watch out for hepatitis

There are two main vaccinations that can support your sexual health as you grow up. These will help protect you from HPV (genital warts) and hepatitis.

Hepatitis is a medical condition that means that the liver is inflamed. Many things can cause this to happen, but the most common cause is a liver-attacking virus. There are a few strains of it and these are termed A, B, C and D. The virus can cause serious and long-term liver damage.

How can you prevent it? Hepatitis lives in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, saliva and bodily fluids. The most easily spread strain is B and it is the one you have to be most careful about.

It can be spread by:

What’s the link to HIV? Hepatitis B and C are often common in people with HIV and will put further strain on the immune system.

Can it be cured? Vaccines that can guard against hepatitis A and B are available. All teens should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. For adults, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for those who are at high risk.

Hepatitis B and C can be treated. The drugs to treat hepatitis are very expensive, that’s why prevention is better.

Much like HIV, you won’t know if a person is infected unless they tell you. But they may not know, so play it safe and always assume they are. Ask at your clinic for a test if you are concerned. Knowing that you have viral hepatitis helps you take actions to treat it, and avoid passing the virus to others.


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