Hepatitis A (HAV)

Description, causes, prevention, treatment and medicines

What is HAV?

A liver illness caused by hep A virus. The virus makes people sick but only for 1-3 weeks.

Window period of Hepatitis A

(the time between infection and the illness showing up in blood tests)

Blood tests not usually given due to the short nature of the illness.

What Hepatitis A is transmitted by?

  • Food or water contaminated with sewerage.
  • Anything with human faeces (poo) on it that comes in contact with the mouth.

Things which put people at risk of HAV

  • Household contact with an infected person.
  • Sexual contact (involving anal sex) with an infected person.
  • Travelling through developing countries.

Symptoms in short term infection

Feeling unwell, aches and pains, fever, nausea, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, followed by jaundice (yellowing of eyes and sometimes skin).
Young children usually have no symptoms.

Symptoms in long term infection

No long term infection


Not needed.


Yes. It is safe and effective.


  • Get vaccinated.
  • Household contacts and sexual partners of someone with hep A should be given immunoglobulin (drug that gives short-term protection).
  • Wash hands after going to the toilet and before eating.
  • Practice safer sex.
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