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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B

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How is hepatitis B passed on?

hepatitis B can be passed on through:

  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Sharing needles, syringes or other drug injection equipment
  • Sharing items such as razor blades or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • Direct contact with the blood or open sores of the infected person
  • Exposure to blood from needle sticks or other sharps instruments
  • From mother to child during birth

Some people are at a greater risk of contracting hepatitis B, such as those who:

  • Have regular sex with an infected person
  • Have multiple sexual partners
  • Already have an STI present, particularly HIV
  • Are men who have sex with men
  • Share drug injecting equipment
  • Live with someone who has chronic hepatitis B
  • Work in healthcare

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How do I know if I have Hepatitis B?

Some people with hepatitis B may experience:

  • Feeling tired or generally unwell
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • A loss of appetite; not feeling hungry, even at meal times
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal (tummy) pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark urine (wee)  and pale bowel movements (poo)
  • Itchy skin

People with chronic hepatitis B infection (6 months or longer) may experience:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Depression
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Moodswings
  • Digestive problems
  • Joint and muscles aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Pain in the liver area
  • Stomach pains
  • Itching
  • How can hepatitis B be treated?

If you are diagnosed with hepatitis B, your GP will usually refer you to a liver specialist (hepatologist). Many people don't have any troublesome symptoms, but if you do feel unwell, it can help to:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, for tummy (abdominal) pain
  • Stay in a cool, well-ventilated environment, wear loose clothing, and avoid hot baths or showers if itching is a problem
  • Take medication prescribed by your doctor to stop you feeling sick and to reduce itching

Most people recover completely in a couple of months, but you'll be advised to have regular blood tests to check that you're free of the virus and haven't developed chronic hepatitis B.

The NHS provides free vaccinations against hepatitis A and B for ‘at risk’ groups, this includes people with liver and kidney disease, sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men. 

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Should I test for hepatitis B?

If you think that you have hepatitis B it’s a good idea to get a blood test right away. You might not have symptoms but if you have been a situation that has increased risk such as drug use or unprotected sex with someone with the virus, it’s important you have your blood taken and tested.

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Where can I test for hepatitis B?

You can get a test at a range of sexual health clinics (sometimes called GUMs) across Greater Manchester.

Sexual Health testing services in Greater Manchester.

You can also test at your GP or community services like LGBT Foundation’s full screening clinic for people who identify as men who have sex with men. 

 

Free and confidential advice and support

Contact a sexual health adviser


The Passionate about Sexual Health (PaSH) Partnership) is a collaboration between BHA for Equality, George House Trust and the LGBT Foundation. The PaSH Partnership will deliver a comprehensive programme of interventions to meet the changing needs of people newly diagnosed with HIV, living longer term with HIV or at greatest risk of acquiring HIV.

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Free & confidential sexual health services for black and minority communities

 

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Free and confidential support, advice and advocacy services for people living with HIV

 

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