On March 9th, 2017, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) issued an alert regarding the number of hepatitis A cases that have been accounted for in 2017.
NYC Health Alert 2017
On March 9th, 2017, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) issued an alert regarding the number of hepatitis A cases that have been accounted for in 2017. Health clinics and health care providers are being cautioned to report any cases of hepatitis A they come across, as well as promote the vaccination for all their patients.
The main concern comes from the fact that these cases were not the result from international travel (a common reason for contracting the virus), but were found in men having sex with men that have not received the 2 dose hepatitis A vaccination.
NYC DOHMH is advising that all MSM receive two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine in order to prevent getting the disease.
If you don't remember your vaccination status, the NYC DOHMH has provided resources for both patients and providers so that you can find out if you've gotten the vaccine:
- Patients can call 311 or visit MyVaccineRecord
- Providers can check the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR) for their patients' vaccination status
- For more information about Hepatitis A you can call 866-NYC-DOH1 (1-866- 692-3641)
What is Hepatitis A, How Do We Contract It, & Prevent it?
WHO gives us some of the key facts:
- Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.
- The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.
- Almost everyone recovers fully from hepatitis A with a lifelong immunity. However, a very small proportion of people infected with hepatitis A could die from fulminant hepatitis.
- A safe and effective vaccine is available to prevent hepatitis A.
- Safe water supply, food safety, improved sanitation, hand washing and the hepatitis A vaccine are the most effective ways to combat the disease.
Some people with hepatitis A do not have any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Click here to visit the CDC's informational page on hepatitis A
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis A vaccine is an inactivated (killed) vaccine. You will need 2 doses for long-lasting protection. These doses should be given at least 6 months apart. Adults who have not been vaccinated previously and want to be protected against hepatitis A can also get the vaccine.
You should get hepatitis A vaccine if you:
- are traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common,
- are a man who has sex with other men,
- use illegal drugs,
- have a chronic liver disease such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C,
- are being treated with clotting-factor concentrates,
- work with hepatitis A-infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory, or
- expect to have close personal contact with an international adoptee from a country where hepatitis A is common
Apicha CHC is Here to Help!
At Apicha CHC we give the 2 dose hepatitis A vaccine. We'll talk to you about the details of Hep A, how you can get it, prevent it and treat it. Our medical providers will be able to offer you guidance and answer any questions you may have regarding hepatitis A and other diseases. We always strive to provide our patients with the highest quality of care.
Who do we vaccinate?
We offer the Hep A vaccine to Gay & Bisexual MSM, and all of our LGBT patients as a standard of care practice at our clinic.
We also provide the vaccine to any of our patients traveling to developing countries, or to those that consume shellfish.
What if I am on PrEP?
If you're taking PrEP, your doctor will test you to see if you have previously been infected or if you have already had the immunization. If nothing comes up, we will give you the vaccine.
Find us at PRIDE events!
At past Pride events in Brooklyn and Queens, Apicha CHC has given the Hep A vaccine.