Warnings issued for hepatitis B passed through sex
Public Health England is issuing new warnings concerning a virus that can be spread through sex and cause serious illnesses. Hepatitis B can be spread through blood and bodily fluids, including during sex and is linked to a number of illnesses that can be fatal.
The organisation is highlighting the fact that hepatitis B is a severe infection of the liver that often doesn't have symptoms until it has progressed to illnesses like liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Its latest posters and flyers read: “Protect yourself by getting vaccinated, but don’t forget to use condoms to protect against hepatitis B and other STIs.
“Casual sex + multiple partner = hepatitis B risk.”
Those who engage in casual sex or have multiple partners are being called on to get vaccinated against hepatitis B in order to stop it spreading, especially as it is not always included in standard STI tests.
Hepatitis B symptom can simply feel a bit like the flu, resulting in aches and pains, tiredness, a fever and low appetite. More severe symptoms can include stomach pain, sickness, diarrhoea, and eyes and skin turning yellow.
Of those who have hepatitis B, one in five develop scarring of the liver, which still won't present with symptoms until a lot of damage has been done to the organ. According to experts, it is also thought that living with the virus means you have a one in 20 chance of developing liver cancer.
In order to protect yourself and your sexual partners from hepatitis B, as well as STIs and unwanted pregnancy, it is important to use condoms. It is also vital that you ensure you are using them and disposing of them correctly.
If you start to experience any symptoms, make sure you see your GP and get tested as soon as possible.