Hepatitis B

What is it? The most common sexually transmitted Hepatitis virus. It is highly infectious, but a vaccine is available. This is given free on the NHS to all at risk groups.

How can I catch it? Transmission is through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, although infection via oral sex is not impossible.

How does it work? After infection the virus has in incubation period of 40–160 days. During this time, many people have no symptoms while others experience a flu–like illness, nausea, and vomiting. The virus then enters the acute phase, during which some people may continue to have no symptoms while others may develop severe symptoms including abdominal discomfort, jaundice, and in some cases, death. After this phase 90% of adults will clear the infection, and the remainder develop chronic carrier state where the individual may not show symptoms, but remain infectious and at risk of permanent liver damage.

Screening and vaccination

Where can I get screened? In any GUM Clinic.

How is the screening done? Like the test for hepatitis A, it consists of analysing a blood sample.

Where can I get vaccinated? Talk to your nurse or doctor about it. If you are planning to travel to a developing country you may need vaccinating against both hepatitis A and B.

If you have any questions, speak to your nurse or doctor, or see the sexual health useful conctacts list. To book a sexual health screen online visit www.sexualhealthcambs.nhs.uk.