Hepatitis B is a serious liver condition caused by a virus.
Hepatitis B is not as common in the UK as in other parts of the world, but some groups of people are at higher risk of infection.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Injecting drug users.
- People who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.
What are the symptoms?
Most people infected with Hepatitis B are unaware of it or the symptoms are so mild that they do not see a doctor
- Flu like symptoms (tiredness, aches)
- Diarrhoea or pale stools
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the eyes)
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Hepatitis B is a “silent infection” that can infect you without you knowing it.
How is it passed on?
It is transmitted through blood and infected bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluid.
It can be passed on through blood to blood contact
Sharing needles or works
Sharing toothbrushes or razors with infected blood on them
Tattoos and piercings using unsterilized equipment
Through childbirth by an infected mother
How do I protect myself?
Use condoms and dams for intercourse and oral sex
Don’t share needles or works
Don’t share toothbrushes or razors
Make sure your booster is up to date
If I am HIV+?
Around 5% of HIV+ people are also infected with Hepatitis B
Coinfection is called HBV/HIV coinfection
If you are HIV+ you can still be vaccinated against Hepatitis B
Who should get vaccinated?
Men who have sex with men.
Injecting drug users.
People who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Vaccinations are free for these groups.
Vaccination what happens?
A blood test to see if you are already infected or may be immune.
There are three initial injections, these are on
Day(s) 0, 7 and 21
A booster after one year
Booster every 5 years thereafter
(These may vary slightly dependant on where you receive your vaccination)
Where do I get vaccinated?
You can get free vaccinations from:
- Sexual Health Clinics
- Drug Services
- GP Surgeries
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