Hepatitis B
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Patient Care

 Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infectious illness caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) which infects the liver. Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids.

How does one get Hepatitis B? 


  • Sexual intercourse with an infected person (vaginal, anal or oral sex)
  • Receiving contaminated blood products
  • Infected mother to child (during normal child birth)
  • Needle sharing and needle stick injury 
  • Sharing contaminated equipment e.g. tattooing and acupuncture needles


What are the symptoms and signs of Hepatitis B? 


  • It may be without symptoms or may present with severe liver disease 
  • If an individual has acute Hepatitis B, he/she will experience malaise, low grade fever, nausea, loss of appetite, dark tea-colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin) 
  • Some infected individuals do not show any signs and may remain symptom free and ignorant of the infection until they are tested


How is Hepatitis B diagnosed? 

  • Hepatitis B antigen tests: the presence of Hepatitis B antigen means that the person is infected and infectious to others 
  • Hepatitis B antibody test: the presence of Hepatitis B antibody means that the person is immune 
  • Liver function tests assess the functional state of the liver 


Can a Hepatitis B carrier be cured?


  • There are new medications that can help some carriers to get rid of their infection. You should seek advice from a specialist for further information
  • Regular check-ups with your doctor to assess the function of the liver and detect any early cancerous changes 
  • Sexual partners should be screened for infection 
  • Pregnant women must inform their obstetrician so that necessary precautions may be taken to prevent infecting the newborn 
  • Inform your doctor and dentist that you are a carrier so that precautions may be taken during procedures
  • Do not share personal items like shavers and toothbrushes as there may be blood contamination
  • Use a condom during sexual intercourse to prevent infecting others


Find out more through this Patient Information Leaflet.

Download Patient Information Leaflets
Last update on 28 Nov 2013
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