Santé et Services sociaux Québec

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Questions about hepatitis

What are the differences between the three kinds of hepatitis (A, B, and C)?

Hepatitis A, B, and C are viral infections of the liver. Some people with hepatitis have no symptoms. They don’t even know they have the virus and can spread it. Hepatitis A virus is present in the stool of an infected person and is transmitted through body fluids, food, contaminated water, and oro-anal sexual contact.

Hepatitis B virus is transmitted by body fluids (sperm, vaginal secretions, and blood). Hepatitis B can spread through unprotected sexual contacts, sharing syringes and injection preparation equipment, and tattooing or piercing done with badly sterilized needles or equipment. An infected mother can transmit hepatitis B to her baby while giving birth.

The main mode of transmission of hepatitis C virus is sharing equipment used for injecting drugs (cocaine, heroin, steroids, etc). If needles and equipment used for tattooing or piercing are not new or sterilised, they can also transmit hepatitis C. Sexual transmission and perinatal transmission (from mother to child) are possible, though the risk is less than for hepatitis B.

For more information, consult our brochures :

Hepatitis C -  An insidious infection
If you're using drugs keep a sharp eye out for Hepatitis A, B et C