Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus is usually found in blood and bodily fluids (vaginal secretions, semen, breast milk and saliva). Hepatitis B is prevented by getting a vaccine.
How would I get it?
- Spread through unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex or through shared needles, occasionally shared items like toothbrushes or razors with an infected partner
- Mom can pass on to baby during birth
What kind of symptoms could I have if I am infected?
- Some people will have no symptoms at all when they are first infected.
- Other people might experience fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin), dark urine, low-grade fever and loss of appetite.
How do I prevent this?
- Condoms and dental dams
- Using clean needles
What if I have been exposed to Hepatitis B?
We suggest you go to the hospital where you may get an injection of antibodies may be given (up to 7 days after a needlestick injury and up to 14 days after sexual contact), followed by the vaccine to help decrease the risk of infection.
How do I get tested?
- Blood test
- Results take 1-2 weeks to come back
What if I test positive?
- Although there is no cure for hepatitis B, excellent medications are available to manage the disease.
- Hepatitis B is a “Publicly reportable disease” and someone from public health may be contacting you.
- It is best if your partner(s) are notified and avoid sex until they have been screened and immunized.
- Public health can help with partner notification and allow you to remain anonymous.
How do I know it’s gone?
- You will likely need to be followed by a Hepatitis B specialist. We can help with that!
- If treated early, Hepatitis B can be very well controlled.
- Untreated Hepatitis B can lead to chronic liver damage, liver cancer and other serious health issues.
Need more info? Learn more here
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