Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver and is caused by the hepatitis B virus which can be passed on sexually.

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Hepatitis B

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver and is caused by the Hepatitis B virus which can be passed on sexually.

How could I get hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B can be passed on through unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex (sex without a condom). It is much more infectious than hepatitis A, hepatitis C or HIV.

The Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood, cum, vaginal fluids, wee, spit and faeces (shit), as well as other body fluids of a person who is infected. The virus can be spread through unprotected sex, or by getting blood or other infected body fluids in the mouth, eyes, or broken skin. It can also be passed on by sharing needles or snorting straws if you take drugs in this way.

How can I avoid getting hepatitis B?

You can be vaccinated against hepatitis B. The best way to prevent infection is by getting vaccinated. The vaccine is available from our nurse led sexual health clinics and involves a short course of injections.

Using condoms, femidoms, gloves and dams can prevent catching hepatitis B infection through having sex.

What are the symptoms?

Not everyone who gets infected with hepatitis B will show symptoms. Any symptoms that may appear could be one to six months after exposure to the hepatitis virus and infection can persist for several years and silently cause severe liver damage. Many people with hepatitis B may not even realise that they are infected.

If you do become infected with hepatitis B you may have some symptoms after the initial infection. These symptoms are similar to that of flu – feeling sick and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of eyes) and dark wee, pale faeces (shit) or itchy skin.

How do I get tested for hepatitis B?

Testing for hepatitis B is done by taking a blood sample.

You can get tested for hepatitis B (and other STIs) 7 days a week with our sexual health services at Birmingham LGBT.

Call us on 0121 643 0821

All of our services are free and confidential

How is it treated?

If you have chronic or acute hepatitis B you will be referred to a specialist for further assessment and/or treatment. Not everyone needs treatment immediately. People who have chronic (more than 6 months) hepatitis B infection should see a specialist and have blood tests and a liver scan done, which will determine when treatment may start. Treatment for hepatitis B may involve injections, but most often people are treated with antiviral medication. Anyone with chronic hepatitis should avoid alcohol.

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