WHAT IS HEPATITIS B?
Your liver. It’s an organ in your gut. It processes nutrients, filters toxins, and helps you fight diseases. You probably don’t think about it much! But it’s always there, quietly working away — and you want it to be working properly. Why are we talking about your liver? Because that’s the organ affected by Hepatitis B (Hep B).
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HEP B
HOW IS HEP B PASSED ON?
You can get Hep B if the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid of someone who has already contracted Hep B enters your body. So, for example, if you have penis-in-vagina sex with someone who has Hep B, you could catch it.
Hep B is not spread through breast milk, food, water, or casual contact such as hugging, kissing, and sharing food or drinks with an infected person.
IS HEP B AN STD?
Yup, Hep B is an STD. That’s because you can get it from the semen, vaginal fluid, or blood of a person who has it.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEP B?
Hep B often doesn’t show any symptoms at all, but if people do show symptoms in the early stages of an infection, they look a lot like the flu.
WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP FROM GETTING HEP B?
Because Hep B is primarily a sexually transmitted infection, a great way to keep from catching it is using a condom when you have sex. We’ll even give them to you for free!
Also, there’s a Hep B vaccine, which is three to four shots over a six month period. Chances are, you already got it: Most people get it when they’re infants, starting at birth.
DO I NEED TO GET TESTED FOR HEP B?
Probably not, because both Hep B and Hep A are pretty uncommon in the United States, most of us get vaccinated against them. You can take this online assessment to figure out your chances of catching Hep B.
WHAT’S A HEP B TEST LIKE?
The Hep B test is a blood test in three parts. You can learn more about the Hep B test here.
HOW IS HEP B TREATED?
Hep B isn’t curable, but it usually goes away by itself in four to eight weeks. More than 90% of adults who catch Hep B recover completely. So if you get it, you probably won’t need treatment beyond rest and lots of fluids. However, your doctor will let you know the best course of action if you test positive for Hep B.
IS HEP B COMMON?
Hep B isn’t common in the United States, mainly because we’ve been vaccinating babies since the late 1980s.