There is a large international outbreak currently of hepatitis A, mostly among gay and bisexual men. In several European countries more than 1,000 patients have been reported. RIVM and Soa Aids Nederland / Man to Man recommend men who have sex with men to vaccinate against hepatitus A. Especially when they visit gay prides or other festivities this summer.
Hepatitis A is an infectious liver disease, transmitted by contact with contaminated faeces or via food or drinking water in which the virus is present. People may become infected with the hepatitis A virus through contaminated food or drinks but also through anal sex with someone who carries the virus. Infection can also take place through contact with a contaminated door knob, towel or toilet seat, sharing sex toys or unwashed hands after a toilet visit.
Madrid is hosting the 2017 World Pride from June 23rd to July 2. This global event is expected to draw more than two million people. Because of the international nature of the event, the hepatitis A virus is expected to spread further. This also applies to other gay pride and (circuit) parties that are held during the summer months, and to (sexual) contacts.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. SOA Aids Nederland / ‘Man tot Man’ and RIVM are calling on gay and bisexual men to have themselves vaccinated. It is possible to vaccinate against hepatitis A alone or in combination with hepatitis B. Men can contact the Municipal Public Health Services (GGD) for vaccination. Or visit www.mantotman.nl/hepatitisa. The vaccination against hepatitis A provides immediate protection.
It is also important to comply with good hygiene practice. That way you can (help) prevent the virus from spreading further.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, particularly before eating/cooking, after visiting the toilet and after anal sex;
- Do not share sex toys;
- Use condoms or latex gloves during anal sex or sexual activities such as rimming, fingering or fisting.