Hepatitis B

Hepatitis: What is it?

“Hepatitis” means inflammation (swelling) of the liver. Certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis.

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that you get by being infected with the Hepatitis B virus. There are two types of this disease. An acute (short-term) illness lasting a few weeks and a serious chronic illness that lasts your whole life.

Symptoms (signs you may have the disease) of acute hepatitis B may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark pee
  • Clay-colored poop
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or the eyes)

Symptoms from chronic hepatitis B may include:

  • Some people have ongoing symptoms similar to acute Hepatitis B, but most people with chronic Hepatitis B stay symptom free for as long as 20 or 30 years. People with chronic Hepatitis B develop serious liver conditions, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer

Hepatitis B: How can I get it?

You can get hepatitis B from the following types of contact with either a male or female who has this sexually transmitted infection (STI):

  • Blood
  • Semen (cum)
  • Vaginal Fluids
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection objects
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • By being born to an infected mother

Hepatitis B: How can I get tested for it?

People who think they may have been exposed to hepatitis B will get one or more blood tests. These tests look for the presence of antibodies or antigens and can help find out if you have an infection, have recovered from infection, are immune to hepatitis B, or could benefit from vaccination.

If a person who has been exposed to hepatitis B virus gets the hepatitis B vaccine and/or a shot called “HBIG” (hepatitis B immune globulin) within 24 hours, hepatitis B infection may be prevented

How can I be treated for Hepatitis B?

There is no medication for acute hepatitis B

For chronic hepatitis, there are some medications available. Your doctor will tell you if you need medication

Hepatitis B: How can I keep myself and my partner(s) from getting it?

  • Using male condoms
  • Using female condoms
  • Getting vaccinated
  • Not having sex (abstinence)

Hepatitis B: How can I protect my partner(s) once I know I have it?

People who have not been vaccinated should get vaccinated and get check ups regularly by a doctor.