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Hepatitis B

What is it?

Hepatitis B is a virus that can cause inflammation of the liver. It is very common worldwide and is very infectious.

How did I get it?

There are several ways in which it is passed on:

  • Unprotected sex, including oral sex.

  • Sharing needles, syringes or any other drug injecting equipment.

  • Tattooing, body piercing — if dirty equipment is used.

  • Through a blood transfusion in a country where donated blood is not screened (it is screened in the UK).

What are the symptoms?

  • Flu like illness.

  • Sickness.

  • Diarrhoea.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Yellow skin (jaundice), yellow eyes and darker urine.

  • Many people may have no symptoms.

What will it do to me?

Most people infected with the Hepatitis B virus fully recover and you can’t be infected with it again.

A few people may go on to develop long term liver damage and in some cases liver cancer.

Where can I go?

Your local GU Medicine/Sexual Health clinic, or a Doctor.

You may then be referred to a liver specialist.

Can it be treated?

No, but people can make a full recovery.

If you have this infection your partner will also need to have a check up. There is a vaccination available.

Always wearing a condom during sex will reduce the risk of becoming infected.

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