Includes: 1 Hep B test kit, pre-addressed return envelope (Postage Paid)
Get tested for Hepatitis B in the comfort of your own home. Like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B (Hep B) is a liver infection. It is caused by a virus that occurs in the blood.
Below, we give a brief summary on the key points you need to know about this virus.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver infection that is often classified as either “acute” or “chronic.” Both types are caused by an infection of the Hepatitis B virus.
Acute HEPATITIS B:
Acute Hep B typically happens within 6 months after being infected. If not treated early, it can develop into chronic Hep B. However, progressing from acute to chronic Hep B depends on age.
Acute Hep B can cause symptoms like:
- Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
CHRONIC HEPATITIS B:
Chronic Hep B typically develops after being infected with acute Hep B. This infection can last much longer and perhaps the rest of one’s lifetime. Chronic Hep B causes more serious health problems such as:
- Liver cancer
- Liver damage
These health problems are treatable but can be fatal if left untreated. Luckily, vaccination for Hep B is routine among U.S. children and cases tend to be rare.
Why should I get tested for Hepatitis B?
If you are an adult, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor or immunization records if you’ve already been vaccinated or should get vaccinated. Oftentimes, people infected with Hepatitis B do not show symptoms. If not treated early, Hep B can lead to serious health consequences.
The goods new is Hepatitis B can be prevented and treated when taking the proper steps. You may be tested for Hepatitis B if you also plan to start taking Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). As part of the PrEP therapy protocol, Hep B is one of several tests performed to determine if a person can start taking PrEP.
How can someone get Hepatitis B?
Hep B spreads through direct contact with blood of bodily fluids of a Hep B positive person. Hep B can spread by doing activities with an infected person such as:
- Unprotected sex
- Sharing injection needles
- Sharing toothbrushes, nail clippers, razors, with Hep B positive blood or bodily fluids
- Being born from a mother that was Hep B positive during pregnancy
Who gets Hepatitis B?
Currently, about 850,000 – 2.2 million in the United States alone have chronic Hepatitis B but is much higher in other countries. Unvaccinated adults typically become infected with acute Hep B than chronic Hep B.
How do I know if I have Hepatitis B?
Oftentimes, Hep B positive people do not show symptoms and are unaware they are infected. Getting tested is the only way to confirm if you have Hep B. Now, you can get tested for Hep B at any time and from any place!
What should I do if I am positive for Hepatitis B?
Currently, there are no medications for treating acute Hepatitis B. Luckily, there are treatments for people with chronic Hepatitis B. The type of medication, however, depends on your specific needs and should be consulted with a doctor.
How can I prevent myself from getting Hepatitis B?
Hep B vaccines are very safe and effective in preventing Hep B infection. If you are sexually active with someone infected with Hepatitis B, using condoms correctly is another great layer of defense. Pun intended! If you’re unsure if you’ve been vaccinated or not, you can get tested to confirm your status and share with your doctor if you need treatment or can get vaccinated.
Should I get vaccinated for Hepatitis B?
Getting vaccinated can prevent Hepatitis B infection. Check with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are a candidate for a Hepatitis B vaccination.
There are a few exceptions for not getting vaccinated, but they’re very rare. One reason could be if the person has a life-threatening allergy to baker’s yeast or to any component of the Hep B vaccine. Another is if the person experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction to the previous Hep B vaccine dose. Lastly, if the person is moderate to severely ill by the time they are due for the next vaccine dose. In this case, it’s best to wait until the person fully recovers to get the next vaccine dose.
If you discover you are Hepatitis B positive, you may still be vaccinated depending on the circumstance of getting infected.
|If you were infected by:||Healthcare providers typically treat as follows:|
|Unprotected sex:||A single vaccine dose is given within 14 days of the most recent contact.|
|A needle or sharp object:||A single vaccine dose is given as soon as possible. Ideally, within 24 hours of being exposed. Then follow the typical vaccine schedule.|
Although rare in the United States, expecting mothers that are Hepatitis B positive during pregnancy can still help their unborn child. This involves having the infant vaccinated within the first 12 hours of birth followed by a second a third dose 1-2 and 6 months later.
Why should I test for Hep B before starting PrEP?
Before starting on PrEP, Hep B is one of several tests you will need to do. PrEP is a daily pill for people that are HIV negative. One of the reasons Hep B is tested before taking PrEP is because PrEP is also active against Hep B as well as HIV. There are some circumstances that may worsen Hep B symptoms. Your Healthcare provider can further explain these situations.