There are various means for acquiring hepatitis immunity, depending on which variation of the disease you have. Hepatitis A is generally not fatal, and once your body has recovered, you will have a lifelong immunity against the virus. Hepatitis B immunity may be provided by vaccinations, which are typically given in early childhood. Vaccines for hepatitis C are still being investigated, with preliminary versions being tested in 2010 with some success. There are ways to prevent each type of hepatitis, though, and these safety measures should be taken by everyone regardless of immunization status.
In most cases hepatitis A clears up on its own and does not cause any long-term damage in patients. The body’s own immune system produces antibodies against the virus which causes the illness, and these antibodies provide a lifelong immunity once the disease has run its course. This means that if you were to come in contact with hepatitis against later in life, your body will be able to find and kill the virus before it causes you to become sick. Vaccines are also available in many cases.
You probably have hepatitis immunity against hepatitis B if you live in an industrialized nation, as vaccines are routinely given in infancy to prevent this version. One dose is often given at birth, with subsequent doses being given at set intervals during the first year of life. This method works much the same way as natural immunity, only instead of coming down with the illness first, the vaccine introduces weakened hepatitis B virus into your bloodstream so your cells with begin creating antibodies.
While there is no way to develop hepatitis immunity for hepatitis C, there are emerging treatments which may help to slow down or cure the illness. Additionally, researchers are working to create a vaccine against hepatitis C, although it is not available to the public yet. There are medications available to slow down the rate at which hepatitis C progresses and causes liver damage, although there is no cure as of 2010.
Aside from developing hepatitis immunity, there are ways to prevent every form of the disease. You should avoid unprotected sex unless you are in a committed monogamous relationship. Avoiding using illegal drugs, primarily heroine and cocaine which may promote the use of shared needles and snorting straws. Practice sanitary hygiene practices, including hand washing after using the restroom, handling bodily fluids, or before preparing food.