STI Information

Hepatitis B

Basic Info
Symptoms
Testing & Treatment
Protecting Myself

Basic Info

Hepatitis B is a virus that can cause a liver infection. It can be spread from an infected person through body fluids such as semen, saliva and vaginal fluids. It can also be spread through blood and by sharing needles to inject drugs. A mother can also pass on the Hepatitis B infection to her new born baby but infection can be prevented if the baby is vaccinated immediately after birth.

Symptoms

Many people are unaware that they have been infected with the virus however symptoms if they do develop can include feeling sick, poor appetite, flu-like symptoms and yellow skin or eyes.

Testing for Hepatitis B

A blood test will tell you whether your body is making antibodies to try and fight the hepatitis B virus. You may also be referred to a liver specialist for a liver function test.

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B but your symptoms can be managed with medication. However chronic Hepatitis B can be treated using medication to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent any liver damage.

To protect yourself and others it is always best when having vaginal or anal sex to use a condom. However there is a vaccine that is effective in preventing Hepatitis B. This vaccination is usually only recommended and given to people in high risks groups for example:

  • People travelling to or from a country in the world where Hepatitis is widespread
  • People who inject drugs or have a sexual partner who injects drugs
  • Gay men and other men who have sex with men

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