What is Hep B?
Hep B is contagious infection of the liver caused by a virus. For some people, Hep B can pose serious health risks, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The Hep B virus is transmitted through blood, semen, and other bodily fluids. You can get Hep B through sex or through sharing needles (and other equipment) for drugs, hormones, or steroids. You may also be at risk if you share items such as snorting straws, toothbrushes, or razors that have come in contact with the virus.
What are the symptoms of Hep B?
Some people who get Hep B may feel sick within six months of becoming infected, while others may experience symptoms later in life. Still others may never show signs of Hep B. The virus can be passed to others even if the person who has Hep B doesn’t feel sick or show symptoms.
Common symptoms of Hep B include loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and yellowing of the eyes or skin.
In most adults, the Hep B virus eventually goes away on its own. Once the virus has left the body, the person will be immune to Hep B and can no longer pass it to others.
However, if the Hep B virus stays in the body, it can become a chronic infection that can lead to cirrhosis or other serious conditions. There are medications available to treat chronic Hep B.
How do I get tested for Hep B?
A simple blood test can detect Hep B. Talk to your doctor about testing for Hep B, as well as STDs.
How can I prevent Hep B?
The Hep B virus can survive for long periods of time on surfaces, so be sure to disinfect any surfaces or objects, including sex toys, that may have come in contact with the virus.
Fortunately, there’s a safe and effective vaccine for Hep B. The vaccine is administered in three doses over a six-month period. If you’re under 30, there’s a good chance you’ve been vaccinated, so talk to your doctor.
Plan on getting the Hep B vaccine? Be sure to ask your doctor about your Hep A vaccine, too.