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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can be spread by unprotected sex.  This page outlines the symptoms of and treatment for hepatitis B.

What is it?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver.

How do you get it?

Hepatitis B is spread the following ways:

  • by having unprotected (without a condom) vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected
  • from mother to baby/pēpe 
  • sharing implements that may pierce the skin or have blood on them (needles, syringes, unsterilised instruments, razors, toothbrushes)
  • blood transfusion (in countries that do not pre-test blood for transfusion).

What are the symptoms?

Although there are often no symptoms, these can include:

  • yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
  • dark urine
  • mild flu-like symptoms
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea.

How is it treated?

Hepatitis B immunisation prevents infection. It is treated with rest, exercise, and a well-balanced low fat diet. Alcohol and drugs should be avoided. Any prescription drugs or over the counter medications must not affect the liver to be safe.

Will it impact my partner/s?

A condom/pukoro ure  should always be used if a partner is not immunised. Protection is offered to babies on the immunisation schedule and to children/tamariki under 16 years. Free immunisation is available for household and sexual contacts of known carriers.

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