School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by a virus which is called hepatitis B (HBV). The virus is passed during sex with an infected person or contact with infected blood through the skin or mucous membranes. People with multiple sex partners, people whose partner has HBV, men who have sex with men, and people who have other STI’s are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Even though people with HBV may not have symptoms, they can still spread HBV to their sex partner.

Some symptoms include yellow skin or yellowing of the whites of your eyes, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, grey-colored bowel movements, or joint pain. People with HBV may develop a long-term infection. Eventually, hepatitis may damage the liver.

A blood sample is needed to test for hepatitis. There are medications for long-term HBV infection, but there is no treatment when you first get HBV. In order to prevent HBV, experts suggest the hepatitis B vaccine.

Ways to prevent HBV:

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Only having sex with one partner who has been tested, and you know is not infected.
  • Always use condoms correctly.