What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to viral infection. Infection is usually spread through fluids, including those involved in sexual intercourse and practices. There are five total types of hepatitis, with two that can be contracted as an STD.
Effects of Untreated Hepatitis
Hepatitis B virus – Typically transmitted through infected blood, semen, and other body fluids. It can also be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood. There are two stages to the disease – acute and chronic. The acute stage can range from a mild illness that exhibits few symptoms to a serious condition that requires hospitalization. If treated in this stage, there is a chance at being cured before going into the chronic stage. The chronic stage is much more serious and can lead to severe long-term damage, including liver failure and liver cancer.
Hepatitis B has two stages – acute and chronic. If the acute stage -which is typically accompanied by flu-like symptoms, including fever, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue – is left untreated, it can turn chronic. At that point, Hepatitis B becomes harder to cure and can lead to potentially life-threatening health complications. Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, and liver cancer can all develop out of untreated Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C virus – Transmitted through infected blood, it is the most serious condition of the three. It is also the most common and long-lasting. Its symptoms often do not display themselves and can mimic the symptoms of the flu, which can result in it going untested and untreated. Untreated, it is very dangerous and can result in liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.
Hepatitis C is the most dangerous of the three hepatitis types to leave untreated. It is estimated that approximately 700,000 people per year die of Hepatitis C-related liver diseases and that 2.7 to 3.9 million United States residents are infected with chronic Hepatitis C (not counting unreported cases). Those infected with Hepatitis C can live without symptoms for years and feel perfectly healthy, and because of this, go untreated until it turns chronic. Like Hepatitis A and B, untreated Hepatitis C mostly impairs liver function and can lead to liver cancer, liver failure, and cirrhosis. Those who are infected with Hepatitis C are also at greater risk of contracting HIV, developing rheumatoid arthritis, kidney failure, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
How Do I Know if I Have Hepatitis?
Hepatitis in all of its’ forms often goes undiagnosed and untreated because it has flu-like symptoms or doesn’t exhibit any symptoms at all. It is usually because of this that it is only caught in the chronic stage, in where it is harder to treat and could have possibly already created long-term health complications.
Hepatitis B and C all have similar symptoms, which include:
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle/joints aches and pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Light-colored (or ‘clay-colored’) stools
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Internal bleeding (blood in stool, vomiting blood, bruises/contusions on skin)
Don’t Wait for Symptoms – Get Tested Now
You should get an STD test even if you are not showing any symptoms. Many avoid getting tested because they are not exhibiting any symptoms or because their symptom overlap with/are mistaken for other existing illnesses. This can lead to spreading the STD, and if left untreated, can result in severe health risks or even death. A untreated STD can never just go away on their own – only with proper treatment. If you are unsure as to whether your symptoms are the result of an STD, please visit Symptoms for more information.
Why You Should Get Tested
Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most overwhelming yet under-recognized health problems in the United States. Even though it is recommended to get tested every three months when you’re sexually active, the stigma surrounding STD testing makes it a sensitive subject instead of a common check-up.
Per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year and approximately 25% of Americans have some form of an incurable STD. To make matters worse, most STDs won’t display symptoms at first or will even display symptoms that can be mistaken for another illness, such as a yeast infection or the flu. Instead, those that are infected will remain completely unaware of their status, leading to them spreading the infection to others and not getting treatment until it is too late.
It’s no wonder that for Herpes alone, 85% of people who are infected don’t even know they have it. Chlamydia, one of the most common and curable STDs, will often not display symptoms until it is too late. As a result, 1 in 5 infected women will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), resulting in reproductive issues and even infertility. Despite being the deadliest STD of all, 1 in 7 people who are infected with HIV do not realize that they are infected – their initial symptoms are usually shrugged off as the flu. Only until it is too late, when HIV turns into AIDS, do they realize that they are infected.
Long story short, not getting tested for STDs can be extremely dangerous as some STDs can have some life-threatening symptoms if they go untreated. STDs are usually stereotyped as a big joke – a mere annoyance, like an itch or burning sensation that just won’t go away. The truth is that untreated STDs can ruin more than just your physical health – it can ruin all of your life’s plans. Everything in your life can become tainted by an STD – having children, your relationships, even your life expectancy. The best cure is prevention, and the best way to prevent STDs is to get regularly checked.
At Private STD Screen, we believe in making STD testing readily accessible, striving for the utmost discretion, and delivering quick results. Our convenient checkout process makes buying a test a breeze. Just buy your test, go to a testing location near you, give your sample, and receive your results within a few days through our secure portal. No confusing paperwork, no long waits, and very discreet. Know your status today!