Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts

Hepatitis: Type B (caused by hepatitis B virus)

On this page:
Signs and symptoms
Transmission
Complications
Prevention
Testing and Treatment
Contacts for more information

See also: HIV/STD/Hepatitis Risk Assessment
Minnesota Department of Health's integrated risk assessment tool for health and social service providers.

See also: Hepatitis B ECHO-TV Program
Videos available in seven languages with information on hepatitis B awareness and prevention

Signs and Symptoms

Hepatitis B Symptoms:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Dark urine or light-color stool
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Begin 45-180 days after exposure

Transmission

Hepatitis B is Spread by:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Anal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Sharing needles for injecting drugs, body piercing or tattooing
  • Infected mother to newborn
  • Sharing personal items that may have blood or bodily fluids on them (razors, tooth brushes, nail clippers, pierced earrings)

Complications

Hepatitis B:

  • Can spread to sex partners
  • Can lead to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer and death
  • Infected mother can pass virus to newborn.
  • Infected baby may become a chronically infected.
  • Can infect others while in both acute and chronic phases.
  • Less than 1% of people die during the acute phase of infection.

Prevention

  • Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants, adolescents and sexually active adults.
  • Don’t share needles for drugs, tattooing or piercing.
  • Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of hepatitis B.
  • Always use latex condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use a latex condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Use a latex barrier (dental dam or condom cut in half) for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Don’t share personal items like razors.
  • When infant is born to an infected mother, immunize infant at birth.

Testing and Treatment

Management of Exposure to Hepatitis B:

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • Hepatitis B immune globulin injection given within 7 days after blood exposure or 14 days after sexual contact; vaccine may also be recommended.


For more information contact:

Minnesota Department of Health,
P.O. Box 64975
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0975
651-201-5414, 877-676-5414

Minnesota Family Planning and STD Hotline ATTN: Non-MDH link
1-800-783-2287 Voice/TTY

CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines Attention: Non-MDH link
1-800-227-8922; 1-800-243-7889 TTY
1-800-344-7432 (Spanish)

CDC Hepatitis Hotline ATTN: Non-MDH link
(404) 332-4555

Updated Thursday, 30-Aug-2012 09:18:15 CDT