Hepatitis A | Hepatitis B | Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B is transmitted the same way as HIV, but is much more infectious than HIV. Between men, the infection is most commonly transmitted through unprotected anal intercourse and giving oral-anal sex. Some gay men have been infected through sharing drug needles as well. In Western nations, sexually transmitted Hepatitis B tends to occur more commonly among gay men. There is now a very effective vaccine to prevent infection with Hepatitis B. Unfortunately, despite the higher rates of Hepatitis B infection among gay men, most members of the gay community are unaware of this vaccine. Most gay men who are at risk of this infection have never been vaccinated, despite the availability of the vaccine.
How It's Spread:
Hepatitis B is transmitted through unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral sex with an infected person; through contaminated needles or syringes. Hepatitis B is not transmitted through such causal contact as hugging, shaking hands, sharing food, using the same eating utensils, drinking from the same glass, sitting on public toilets, or touching door knobs.
Symptoms May Include:
- Flu-like feelings that don’t go away
- Jaundice (yellow skin and whites of eyes, darker yellow urine and pale feces)
- People may have no symptoms at all, but they can still pass on the hepatitis virus to others
Acute Hepatitis B usually goes away by itself and does not require medical treatment. In chronic cases, symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may require treatment to restore fluids and electrolytes. Because incidences of chronic Hepatitis B infection is significant among gay men, a follow-up appointment with a provider after an acute infection is highly recommended to make sure that the virus has been effectively suppressed or, if not, to explore further treatment options.
There’s an effective Hepatitis B vaccine, and a Hepatitis A and B combination vaccine. The vaccine provides immunity for at least five years and is administered in three shots. Here are a few tips to help prevent infection: do not share syringes and wear gloves to dispose of syringes properly. Avoid sharing toothbrushes and razors with other people. Practice safer sex by using condoms. Check that all equipment used for body piercing and tattooing is sterile. Click on the following link for a list of Hepatitis resources. If you're sexually active, sign-up for FREE STD testing reminders via email, text or both every 3 or 6 months at WeAllTest.com. If We All Test, we can help eliminate syphilis and other STDs in our community!