Hepatitis A virus sickens thousands of people in the United States every year. It’s spread through contact with even microscopic amounts of contaminated feces—for example, through eating raw or uncooked food handled by someone who has the virus. Certain sexual acts are another common route of transmission.

Hep A is always an acute infection. Though it can make you very sick, hep A goes away on its own after a few weeks. Bed rest, lots of fluids and over-the-counter pain relievers can help along the way.  

Hepatitis B can also become a chronic infection like hep C. It is carried by up to 1.4 million people in the United States, including one in 12 Asian Americans, and causes 2,000 to 4,000 deaths annually. Yet 65 percent of those with the infection don’t know they have it.

If you’ve ever injected drugs, had unprotected sex or emigrated from countries where hep B is common, get tested. And if you’re positive, get care—effective treatments are available.

While there is no vaccine currently available for hep C, you can get vaccinated against hep A and B. The shots are cheap and widely available, and they offer lifelong protection.