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Hepatitis B

There are a number of forms of Hepatitis and it is really easy to be confused about which is which. The important thing to remember is that there is no vaccination to protect people against hepatitis C but it is possible to access a free vaccine for Hep B. When you attend a drug treatment clinic you should be offered a vaccine, if not you can ask for one.

Transmission

  • Spread through blood, sexual intercourse and mother to baby
  • Drugs users are particularly vulnerable to this infection from the sharing of injecting equipment
  • An immunisation is available in the form of 4 injections over 12 months. It is strongly recommended for anyone who is a drug user

Prevention

  • Using a condom correctly every time you have sex
  • Don’t share any injecting or drug using equipment this includes water, notes for snorting and injecting works
  • See the sexual health and safer using section on this site for more information

Testing

It is possible to have a test with your GP, at sexual health services, GUM and drug treatment clinic.  See the British Liver Trust Down load for more information.

Treatment

Most people with acute hepatitis B do not need treatment as they do not develop long-term liver damage.
They may feel more tired than usual and need plenty of rest, but they eventually recover and may never be infected with hepatitis B again, this does not apply to everyone. People who are infected for more than six months may benefit from treatment. They need to be regularly seen by a specialist in liver diseases (hepatologist) or a specialist indigestive diseases (gastroenterologist) to check whether they have liver damage and whether treatment is necessary.
If treatment is needed, an antiviral medication called interferon is used. This is similar to interferon that the body’s immune system produces to fight infection.

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Roweena Russell, E: roweena@hiwecanhelp.com , T: 079 57 57 6305
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