Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable virus that attacks the liver.

How would I get it?

  • The virus is usually found in blood and bodily fluids (vaginal secretions, semen, breast milk and saliva). Hep B can be spread through unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex or through shared needles, occasionally shared items such as toothbrushes or razors with an infected partner.
  • It may also be passed from an infected mother to infant 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
  • Vaccination
  • Using clean needles

How do I get tested?

  • Blood test; expect results to come back in 1-2 weeks

What if I test positive?

  • There is no cure for hepatitis B, but anti-viral medications are available to manage the disease
  • We will refer you to a specialist for your ongoing care
  • Hepatitis B is a reportable infection – meaning someone from Public Health may contact you for further information and you are required to notify sexual partners and members of your house. Should you prefer to remain anonymous, Public Health can assist by notifying any or all partners. 

How do I know it’s gone?

  • Most individuals recover from hepatitis B infection fully within about six months
  • Untreated Hepatitis B can lead to chronic liver damage, liver cancer and other serious health issues

Learn more here