Hepatitis A

is an acute inflammation of the liver, caused by the hepatitis A virus. The infection heals mostly by itself. When an infection caused by the hepatitis A Virus is healed, it results in an immunity to the virus. This means, one cannot be infected with Hepatitis A for a second time.

How the infection evolves?

Often, flu-like symptoms arise, 2 to 4 weeks after the contagion with the hepatitis A virus.

During the further evolution of disease, the urine can turn dark and the stool can turn pale. A yellowing of skin and eyes and of the itch occurs, too.

As a rule, the infection heals by itself after several weeks.

How to perceive to be infected?

Possible complaints:

  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Headaches, muscle and joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the eyes
  • Aversion to greasy foods and to alcohol

The seriousness of the symptoms arising that are the complaints can vary from person to person. Many people do not perceive anything.

Routes of transmission

The hepatitis A Virus is excreted via stool and spread via drinking water or foods, which are frequently contaminated with stool. Many people know it as travel-related hepatitis A.

But the hepatitis A Virus can also be transmitted having sex:

  • Oral-anal sex (from the mouth to the anus, from the hand to the anus and the mouth)
  • Petting or fisting (from the hand to the anus and to the mouth)
  • Shared use of sex toys (Anus and mouth)

How to protect yourself?

A vaccination provides reliable protection against the hepatitis A virus.
In risk areas, it is important to peel and cook foods and not to drink tap water.

For the application of sexual practices using the mouth, the lips or the tongue (oral sex), latex sheets, which can cover the anus, provide a good protection (Dental Dam).

Examination methods

A blood test can detect an infection with the hepatitis A Virus.


There is no special therapy used to treat hepatitis A virus. It is only possible to treat symptoms.

IMPORTANT: Prevention is better than treat. That is why we recommend the administration of the safe and effective hepatitis A vaccination.

More Information

  • The infected person can transmit the virus over a longer time without perceiving any symptoms.
  • In the case of infection with hepatitis A, it is important to recover or to avoid greasy foods, alcohol and medicine that cause liver damage.
  • You should abstain from the described sexual practices until the hepatitis A is healed.

Gut zu wissen

The advice centres for AIDS/STI of the Departments of Public Health in NRW provide anonymous and free advice about hepatitis A and the opportunities of vaccinations.

Advice & test offer

Advice Centre for AIDS-/STI