Section : Sexually Transmitted Infections - STI

Hepatitis B

What is hepatitis B?

  • It  is an infection where the liver is inflamed due to an infection with the hepatitis B virus. There are many other viruses which may cause hepatitis (hepatitis A, hepatitis C, EBV, CMV…).

How is hepatitis B transmitted?

  • Sexual intercourse with an infected individual
  • Transfusion of contaminated blood
  • Infected mothers can transmit the infection to their child during delivery.
  • Sharing of syringes or needles or being stung by infected needles
  • Share contaminates surgical equipment: for example instruments used for tatooing and acupuncture needles.

What is the incubation period of hepatitis B?

  • 3 to 6 months after infection

What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis B?

  • The disease can be asymptomatic or can present with a severe disease of the liver.
  • An individual with acute hepatitis A can feel:
  1. general discomfort
  2. fever
  3. nausea
  4. loss of appetite
  5. brown urine
  6. jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Some individuals can show no signs or symptoms and ignore that they are infected until they are tested.

Why is hepatitis B so dangerous?

  • The majority of individuals with hepatitis B have few complications.
  • However, 5 to 10% of the population is unable to produce antibodies against the various and will become (chronic) carriers.
  • (Chronic) carriers of hepatitis B have a greater risk of developing liver cancer.

What are the antigens and antibodies of hepatitis B?

  • The antigens of hepatitis B are a part of the viral particle. These antigens can be detected with blood sampling.
  • The antibodies of hepatitis B are proteins produced by the body when it is exposed to the virus.
  • Antibodies eradicate the virus and enable long-term protection.

How is hepatitis B diagnosed?

  • Hepatitis B can be diagnosed by doing blood tests:
  1. The antigen of hepatitis B: its presence signifies that the individual is infected and that he/her can contaminate others.
  2. The antibody of hepatitis B: its presence signifies that the individual is immune (because specific antibodies have been produced).
  • Liver function tests enable to assess the activity of the liver.

Can hepatitis B be cured if we are a (chronic) carrier?

  • Drugs are available which enable some (chronic) carriers to get rid of the infection.
  • You should consult a specialist (infectious diseases, internist) to get more information.

What must I do if I am found to be a (chronic) carrier of the infection?

  • Regular follow-up with your doctor is necessary to measure the functional state of the liver and to detect effectively any cancerous change.
  • Sexual partners should do regular screening tests of the infection.
  • Pregnant women must inform their obstetrician so that preventive can be taken to avoid infecting the newborn.
  • Inform your doctor and your dentist if you have hepatitis B so that precautions can be taken when undergoing procedures.
  • Do not share personal things such as shavers, toothbrushes….as they may be contaminated by infected blood.
  • Use condoms when engaging in sexual intercourse to avoid infecting others.

What must I do if could be infected?

  • Do a blood test to screen for the presence of the virus.
  • Discuss the results with your doctor and vaccinate yourself if you are not infected.
  • (Chronic) carriers of hepatitis B do not need to be vaccinated.

Can I be vaccinated against hepatitis B?

  • Yes, an effective vaccine is available to protect yourself against hepatitis B.
  • It requires a series of three spaced-out injections.


Dr Husain Ali Mahdi Juma  (دكتورحسين علي جمعه) – dermatologist. Manama, Bahrain

National Skin Centre. Singapore

Category : hépatite B - Modifie le 04.14.2010Category : hepatitis B - Modifie le 04.14.2010