Hepatitis B is a liver infection. It is passed on during sex, especially if you don’t use condoms. It’s also spread through blood. Treatment usually gets rid of it. You can also get an injection that will prevent infection with this STI and any illness. That’s called vaccination.
Video: Doctor Hanna about hepatitis B
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms often don’t appear until a couple of months after you’ve had sex. You might then have:
- Stomach aches
- Muscle aches
- Pain in your bones
- Marks on your skin
- Your skin turning yellow. And the whites of your eyes too. That’s called jaundice.
Hepatitis B usually goes away by itself. Then you won’t need any treatment.
But sometimes it doesn’t. The virus stays in your body. That’s called chronic hepatitis B. What happens then?
- You can get treatment in hospital that stops the infection doing any more damage
- People you regularly have sex with, and the people you live with, should get vaccinated. Then they cannot get infected with the STI
Vaccination against hepatitis B
You can get vaccinated if you have a higher risk of getting this STI. For example:
- If you regularly have sex with someone who has hepatitis B
- If you are a man or boy who has sex with other men. Anal sex increases the risk of hepatitis B
- If you get money or gifts for sex
Telling people you have hepatitis B
If you have hepatitis B, tell the people you’ve had sex with recently. Then they can get tested and treated too. Talk to the doctor about who you should tell. If this difficult for you to do, your doctor or someone at the STI clinic can help you warn people without mentioning your name, using a website. You don’t have to say who you are.