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Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. 

Symptoms

If there are symptoms, they can include: loss of appetite, tiredness, nausea, jaundice and dark urine.

How can you get it?

It is transmitted by infected blood or cum entering a person’s bloodstream through:

  • Condomless sex
  • Sharing injecting equipment, toothbrushes or razors
  • Oral sex
  • Tattooing or body piercing with non-sterile equipment.

How do you know if you have it?

Hepatitis B can be detected by a blood test.

Treatment

Most adults recover from hepatitis B. Some retain the virus in their body and develop a chronic infection: there are treatments for these people. Speak to your doctor.

I'm living with HIV

Co-infection with both HIV and hepatitis B may lead to more rapid progression of hepatitis B to liver cancer. Treatment for hepatitis B may also be less successful and limited by resistance to some antiviral medications that may already have been used for HIV treatment. Speak to your specialist.

Prevention

There is an effective hepatitis B vaccination and a combination hepatitis A & B vaccination - see your doctor.

If you are injecting drugs - remember the New Zealand Needle Exchange can help you access sterile injecting equipment, as well as dispose of used needles and syringes.

For more information, you can go to the Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand.

The NZAF network

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