Hepatitis A causes inflammation in the liver and is the form of the virus which often comes on very quickly and is short-term but severe.


Symptoms can include a flu-like illness, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice (white of eyes and/or skin can take on a yellow-tinge).

How can you get it?

It is transmitted when: 

  • Infected faecal matter enters a person’s mouth through activities such as ass play, or rimming 
  • Not washing hands properly after sex with someone who has Hep A
  • Not washing hands properly after going to the toilet
  • It can also be passed on by using eating and drinking utensils previously used by an infected person
  • Ingesting contaminated food and drink

People are infectious for around three weeks, starting two weeks before they develop symptoms to about a week afterwards.

How do you know if you have it?

Hepatitis A can be detected by a blood test.


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There is no medical treatment - so, people with hepatitis A should drink plenty of water and avoid drugs, alcohol, excessively fatty diets or anything that may affect the liver. If you suspect that you have hepatitis A you should see your doctor.

People who get hepatitis A will recover and develop permanent immunity to the virus.

I'm living with HIV

While hepatitis A will not seriously impact upon HIV, it may lead to difficulties of compliance with antiretroviral medication if there is severe nausea and vomiting.


An effective vaccination against hepatitis A is available. A combination hepatitis A & B vaccination is also available. 

Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet, and before and after sex (especially ass play). You can also consider using dams when you’re rimming.

For more information, you can go to the Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand.

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