Hepatitis A

Sexual transmission of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is linked to oro-anal contact, and is seen most often in men who have sex with men (MSM). The use of dental dams will help prevent transmission. HAV is also associated with injecting drug use. A vaccine is available to prevent transmission. The current recommendation is for a single dose of 1440 units (IU) intramuscularly in the deltoid muscle, with a booster 6 to 12 months later. Given the cost of hepatitis A vaccine, it is worth establishing that a person is non-immune prior to vaccinating.

The National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) Immunisation Handbook (external site) recommends that the following groups are among those who should receive hepatitis A vaccine:

  • people whose lifestyle puts them at an increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A, e.g. MSM, sex industry workers. 
  • people whose occupation puts them at an increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A, e.g. carers of persons with developmental disabilities. 
  • people with chronic liver disease and/or those chronically infected with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C viruses. 

Public health issues

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