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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection affecting the liver that can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex or by using infected needles to inject drugs. Hepatitis B is confirmed using a simple blood test. Approximately 850,000-2,000,000 people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B.

Common Symptoms

Most people who have hepatitis B show symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Rash or arthritis (may occur prior to the onset of other symptoms)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malaise (general discomfort)
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin)

Acute and Chronic Infections

Hepatitis B infections are classified as acute or chronic.

Acute infections occur in the first 6 months after an individual has been infected with hepatitis B and take the form of a short illness.

Acute infections sometimes develop into chronic hepatitis B infections. Chronic infections are long-term illnesses that occur when the body does not eject the hepatitis B virus in the acute stage. Chronic infections can be managed with antiviral medication.

Prevention and Treatment

If you are sexually active, hepatitis B can be prevented by using condoms and dental dams correctly and consistently. If you use injection drugs for any reason, hepatitis B can also be prevented by not sharing needles and ensuring that they’re properly sterile before use.

Hepatitis B is confirmed using a blood test. If you develop chronic hepatitis B, you can manage your condition with antiviral medication. Left untreated, hepatitis B can eventually cause serious damage to your liver and even death.

You can also get vaccinated against hepatitis B at the UHS Allergy & Immunizations Clinic.

If you are sexually active, it is important that you get tested regularly for STIs including hepatitis B, even if you do not have any symptoms.

Partner Notification

If you test positive for hepatitis B, it is important that you notify previous sexual partners so that they can get tested, too. UHS staff can talk you through the partner notification process. UHS also offers resources online to help you talk to your partner about getting tested and seeking treatment.

You can get tested for hepatitis B and all other STIs at University Health Services. Call (512) 471-4955 or go online to make an appointment. Currently enrolled students are eligible to apply for free STI testing at UHS with the Get Yourself Tested Fund.

Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Healthy Sexuality Links

Healthy Sexuality Topics
Classes and Workshops
Get Free or Low-Cost Condoms
Safer Sex Ambassadors
Contraception for College Students Video Series
Men's Sexual Health
Off-Campus STI / HIV testing locations
Sexual Anatomy
Sexually Transmitted Infections
UHS STI Testing
UHS Sexual Assault Forensic Exams
UHS Women's Health
UHS Lending Library

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