Now here’s a STI we don’t hear about every day – Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is caused by the Hepatitis B virus which can be transmitted by blood and sexual fluids. Hepatitis B causes liver disease, which can range from super chilled to life threatening.
Most people think you can only get it from IV drug use, but you can get it in other ways too!
Is Hepatitis B dangerous?
Hepatitis B can range from you having no symptoms at all to full on liver failure or liver cancer. Scary, right?
Initial infections may show up as a mild fever, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin) and pain in the right upper abdomen. If you have these symptoms, definitely head to your doctor right away.
How will I know if I have the severe form of Hepatitis B?
You won’t be able to tell, that’s why it is so important that you go to your doctor and get the necessary tests done. Symptoms may not show up until 1 to 6 months after you have been infected.
The severity of the disease is assessed with a variety of different blood tests, like liver function tests and hepatitis studies. Sometimes they may even do an ultrasound or CT scan to look at the liver.
The treatment you will receive with depend on the severity of the disease.
What is the treatment for Hepatitis B?
There is no cure for Hepatitis B, which is why getting vaccinated is so important!
Treatment will depend on the severity of the disease. Sometimes no treatment is given at all in mild infections. But this doesn’t mean you can’t give the infection to someone else!
The good news is that most times the infection will go away in a few months by itself. Sometimes Hepatitis B is treated with different antiviral medications, some of which are also used to treat HIV.
If your infection goes away, you will not be able to pass it on anymore and your blood tests will show that you don’t currently have Hepatitis B, but you had it in the past.
How do I prevent getting Hepatitis B or passing it on?
The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is to engage in safer sexual practices. As we mentioned before, Hepatitis B is carried by blood, semen and vaginal fluids. Using condoms and dental dams to limit contact with blood and sexual fluids is the best way to protect yourself.
Another great way to prevent getting Hepatitis B is to get the vaccine. Most people get the vaccine as a child, but it is important to get it again as an adult because the power of the immunity has already worn off.
If you would like to know more about how to protect yourself from Hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted infections, you’re in luck! I have created a Mini eBook called The Ultimate Guide to Safe Sex for Women Who Love Women. AND I’m giving it away ABSOLUTELY FREE for a limited time only!
Inside this guide you will find everything you need to know and more! It contains all my tips and tricks that will keep sex fun AND protected.
What do I do if I am worried that the person I had sex with may have Hepatitis B?
If you have had a high risk sexual encounter (e.g. multiple partners, sex workers or IV drug users) and think you may be at risk for getting Hepatitis B, go to your doctor immediately and get the Hepatitis B vaccine and Hepatitis B immunoglobulin.
These injections will help your immune system fight off the infection BEFORE it becomes a problem and can prevent you getting infected.
Let’s sum it up
If you are engaging in, or plan to engage in, higher risk sexual activities, make sure you are protected. You can do this by making sure you’re vaccinated against Hepatitis B, as well as using the necessary barrier methods to prevent contact with blood and sexual fluids.
If you need more detailed guidance on how exactly to protect yourself, you can download my FREE Mini eBook called The Ultimate Guide to Safe Sex for Women Who Love Women.
If you think that you may have already had sexual contact with someone who may have Hepatitis B, or you are showing symptoms, go to your doctor as soon as possible.
Take care of yourself!
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Disclaimer: This blog contains my opinions and doesn’t reflect the opinions of the Department of Health of South Africa or The Southern African Sexual Health Association. All information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but it’s possible that there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. While I am a qualified medical doctor, I am not YOUR doctor. The information presented on this blog is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as professional medical advice. If you rely on any information presented, it’s at your own risk. Please consult a professional before taking any sort of action. I reserve the right to manage this blog as I see fit, including the right to remove harmful or unhelpful comments.