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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus. This infection can be transmitted during vaginal, anal and oral sex. The infection can also be transmitted by injecting drugs, sharing personal care items (such as a razor or toothbrush), body fluids, and by infected mothers during birth.

Symptoms

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Muscular pain
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

How serious is Hepatitis B?

  • After the virus gets into your body, it attacks your liver.
  • The liver helps your body to digest food and to eliminate poisons. Hepatitis B stops your liver from working properly.
  • The virus can cause lifelong infection, scarring of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and even death.

How is Hepatitis B treated?

  • There is no specific treatment for short term illnesses.  Some people remain infectious for life (they become carriers of the virus).

How can I avoid getting Hepatitis B?

  • Get vaccinated. Condoms will only partially reduce your exposure to body fluids and your risk of getting the virus. The SE STD Clinic provides Hepatitis B vaccinations free of charge.

Who should be vaccinated?

  • Anyone who has recently been treated for a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Anyone who visits a sexually transmitted disease clinic.
  • Injection drug users.
  • Sexually active homosexual and bisexual men.
  • Health care workers.
  • The vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth.

If you have questions or think you may have Hepatitis, stop having sex and come to the DC Health and Wellness Center for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL assessment.