If Hepatitis B Is Sexually Transmitted How Come My Partner Isnt Infected
I thought hepatitis B was sexually transmitted? I just tested positive, but my partner tested negative, weve been together for years, what gives?
This question is a common one. Hepatitis B is indeed easily transmitted sexually, so why do some people who were not vaccinated never get hepatitis B from their sexual partners?
It comes down to variables, such as the type of sexual activity you engage in, the viral load of the infected partner, and who is on the receiving end of infectious body fluids, especially blood that contains the most virus, and semen.
Having one partner infected, and other not, can add more stress to an already traumatic hepatitis B diagnosis. It was very confusing and made me question how was it possible I was the only one infected, said a woman who tested positive while her husband tested negative. I thought it was possibly a mistake, maybe I was a biological anomaly, which of course I was not.
Lets look at the factors that affect who gets infected and who doesnt when two people have sex.
Viral load: Semen, vaginal fluids and blood all contain the hepatitis B virus , and the higher the viral load, the more infectious ones blood and body fluids are. However, having an undetectable viral load doesnt mean you wont infect someone during unsafe sex. Even if a man has an undetectable viral load, studies show his semen still contains some HBV and can spread infection, though the risk is lower.
Hbv Serotypes And Genotypes
Based on some of the antigenic determinants of HBsAg, nine serological types -referred to as subtypesadw2, adw4,adrq+, adrq, ayw1,ayw2, ayw3, ayw4 andayrâ have been identified . Ten genotypes of HBV have been identified, and thesecorrespond to specific geographic distributions . Genotype A is more frequently found in North America,northwestern Europe, India, and Africa. Genotypes B and C are endemic to Asia,and genotype D predominates in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean . Type E is found in western Africa typeF, in South America and type G, in France, Germany, Central America, Mexico,and the United States. Type H is prevalent in Central America type I, in Vietnam and type J, in Japan .
HIV-seropositive MSM populations predominantly coinfected with HBV genotype Ahave been reported in European countries and Japan ,,. The prevalence of HBV genotype A issignificantly higher in the MSM population than in the rest of the population. In addition, Araujo etal. speculated in their review that HBV subgenotypes A2 and C arelikely to predominate in populations at high risk of infection via sexualtransmission . Additionally, HBVgenotype A develops into a persistent infection more often than genotype C ,.
Enteric Routes: Transmission Of Hepatitis A And Hepatitis E
The Hepatitis A and hepatitis E viruses are both transmitted by enteric, that is digestive or by fecal, routes. This is also known as the fecal-oral route. To be exposed to these viruses, you must ingest fecal matter that is infected with the virus. While there are several ways in which this fecal-oral route can be established, poor hygiene and poor sanitary conditions in some countries lead to higher rates of infection of these viruses.
As a result, some areas of the world, like India, Bangladesh, and Central and South America, are particularly prone to the hepatitis E virus. About one-third of people in the United States have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.
It is believed that the hepatitis F virus may also be spread by enteric routes.
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How Is Hepatitis B Virus Transmitted Between Sexual Partners
HBV is transmitted more easily than human immunodeficiency virus or HCV. Infection is associated with vaginal intercourse, genital-rectal intercourse, and oral-genital intercourse. An estimated 30% of sexual partners of patients infected with HBV also contract HBV infection. However, HBV cannot be transmitted through kissing, hugging, or household contact . Sexual activity is estimated to account for as many as 50% of HBV cases in the US.
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Tips For Preventing Transmission Through Sex
If youre sexually active with a person who has hepatitis C, there are ways that you can prevent contracting the virus. Likewise, if you have the virus, you can avoid infecting others.
A few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission include:
- using a condom during every sexual contact, including oral sex
- learning to use all barrier devices correctly to prevent ripping or tearing during intercourse
- resisting engaging in sexual contact when either partner has an open cut or wound in their genitals
- being tested for STIs and asking sexual partners to be tested too
- practicing sexual monogamy
- using extra precautions if youre HIV-positive, as your chance of contracting HCV is much higher if you have HIV
If you have hepatitis C, you should be honest with all sexual partners about your status. This ensures that youre both taking the proper precautions to prevent transmission.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hbv Infection
HBV can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a mild illness and general feeling of being unwell to more serious chronic liver disease that can lead to liver cancer.
Someone with hepatitis B may have symptoms similar to those caused by other viral infections, like the flu. The person might:
- be extra tired
- feel like throwing up or actually throw up
- not feel like eating
- have a mild fever
HBV also can cause darker than usual pee, jaundice , and belly pain.
People exposed to hepatitis B may start to have symptoms from 1 to 6 months later. Symptoms can last for weeks to months.
In some people, hepatitis B causes few or no symptoms. But even someone who doesn’t have any symptoms can still spread the disease to others.
How Is Hepatitis B Transmitted
Hepatitis B is spread in several distinct ways: sexual contact sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment or from mother-to-child at birth.
In the United States, in 2018, injection drug use was the most common risk factor reported among people with an acute HBV infection, followed by having multiple sex partners. Less commonly reported risk factors included accidental needle sticks, surgery, transfusions, and household contact with a person with HBV infection. In the United States, healthcare-related transmission of HBV is rare.
Mother-to-child transmission of HBV is especially concerning, because it is preventable. An estimated 25,000 infants are born to mothers diagnosed with HBV each year in the United States, and approximately 1,000 mothers transmit HBV to their infants. Without appropriate medical care and vaccinations, 90% of HBV-infected newborns will develop chronic infection, remaining infected throughout their lives. Up to 25% of people infected at birth will die prematurely of HBV-related causes. For this reason, the standard of care for pregnant women includes an HBV test during each pregnancy so that the appropriate steps can be taken to prevent HBV-positive mothers from transmitting the disease to her infant.
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In Development: Genital Herpes Vaccines
Genital herpes is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex viruses. Some infected people may have few or no symptoms of illness, but many others experience blisters and sores in the genital area. The infection can remain in the body indefinitely, and sores can recur again and again.
Researchers have developed many experimental attenuated and inactivated herpes vaccines, starting in the 1930s and continuing through the 1970s, though none was effective enough to be approved and licensed.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline co-sponsored a Phase 3 clinical trial of a candidate subunit herpes vaccine on nearly 8,000 women across the country. The vaccine had previously shown some promise in a certain subset of women. In September 2010, however, researchers reported that the Phase 3 trial failed to show that the vaccine was effective. Another herpes candidate vaccine, sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur, uses the whole virus and is in pre-clinical studies.
As much as it would be useful to have a highly effective herpes simplex vaccine, the current options are not likely to be broadly useful.
For Safer Sex Treat Hepatitis C
If you have chronic hepatitis C, of the best strategies for preventing transmission of the virus is to get medical treatment. More than 90 percent cases of hepatitis C can be cured within 8 to 12 weeks of treatment, according to the CDC. Newer hepatitis C treatments are not only effective but generally have fewer and much less severe side effects than previous drugs.
Just be aware that during treatment, transmission can still occur. And a cure doesnt grant you protection against the virus for life. If you continue to engage in high-risk behavior, you can get re-infected, warns Kenneth Sherman, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine and the director of the division of digestive diseases at UC Health in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed
If you think you may have hepatitis B or you might have been exposed to the virus through sex or drug use, see your doctor or gynecologist to get tested. The blood test also can tell whether someone has an acute infection or a chronic infection. Let the doctor know the best way to reach you confidentially with test results.
The Five Types Of Hepatitis
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How To Prevent Std
Many around the world try many ways to prevent STD. But, one single way to prevent STD is avoiding unnecessary sexual contact. Through proper protection, individuals can lower the risk of getting infected. Many health advisers say that it is important to regularly check if a sexually active individual is STD positive or not. Early diagnosis and treatment can stop and manage STD infections. Many healthcare professionals advise that if a person is infected, it is essential to be open about it with their partner. An infected person should also follow the treatments advised by the healthcare adviser.
Health Services For Screening And Treatment Of Stis Remain Weak
People seeking screening and treatment for STIs face numerous problems. These include limited resources, stigmatization, poor quality of services and often out-of-pocket expenses.
In many settings, STI services in low- and middle-income countries are often neglected and underfunded. These problems lead to difficulties in providing screening for asymptomatic infections, insufficient number of trained personnel, limited laboratory capacity and inadequate supplies of appropriate medicines.
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Who Is At Risk
While anyone who has not been vaccinated is, in theory, at risk of contracting hepatitis A, the World Health Organization cites the following groups at being of the highest risk:
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Hepatitis A And Safe Sex
Hepatitis A is most often contracted through eating or drinking something that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Contact with feces of an infected person through sexual activity, including anal sex or oral-anal activity, can result in the spread of hepatitis A to a sexual partner. Even a condom may not be protective, because handling a contaminated condom may lead to spread of the virus onto hands and into the mouth.
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Hepatitis C And Safe Sex
As with hepatitis B, the time to tell any sexual partner about your diagnosis is before you have sex or if you have already had sex, before you have sex again. Again, if you are having sex you need to use condoms and avoid risky sexual activity.
“In patients with hepatitis C in stable monogamous relationships, the rate of transmission appears to be in the range of 2 to 4 percent per year,” says Fallon.
Even though the chance of transmitting hepatitis C is lower if you are having sex with only one partner, you still need to be responsible and cautious. “Since there is no effective vaccine prevention is of particular importance in this group,” warns Fallon. Using condoms will decrease the risk of transmitting your hepatitis C infection to your partner.
How To Prevent Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by a virus . It can be serious and theres no cure, but the good news is its easy to prevent. You can protect yourself by getting the hepatitis B vaccine and having safer sex. If you have oral, anal, and vaginal sex, use condoms and dental dams to help stop the spread of hepatitis B and other STDs.
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How Hbv Is Spread
It is possible for the hepatitis B virus to be spread through the bodily fluids of an infected person, which is to say that the virus can be transmitted through the blood, sweat, tears, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, menstrual blood, and breast milk of an infected person. That said, having hepatitis B does not necessarily mean that you are infectious only some people with HBV are actually contagious.
Opportunities for exposure can include sharing a syringe or getting tattoos or body piercings with infected tools. But it also means that it is possible to be exposed during childbirth as well as sexual contact and intercourse. In fact, nearly two-thirds of acute cases of hepatitis B in the United States are caused by sexual exposure.
Though HBV can be spread through blood, there is generally very little risk of contracting the virus through blood transfusions as most countries began screening for it by 1975.
How Did I Get It
There are several ways of getting hepatitis B. One way is by sexual contact with an infected person.
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through blood and body fluids especially through anal sex. Other ways are by sharing personal items , and sharing needles or equipment for injection drug use. Healthcare and emergency service workers can get it through needle stick injuries or blood splashes in the eyes, nose, mouth or on broken skin.
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Sexual Transmission And Viral Hepatitis
Certain adults who are sexually active should be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend hepatitis B vaccination for
- sexually active people with more than one sex partner during the previous 6 months
- people seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease
- sex partners of people with hepatitis B and
- men who have sex with men .
Which Stds Have Vaccines
Some STDs, such as such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and syphilis, are caused by bacteria. They are usually effectively treated with antibiotics, although many patients do not know that they are infective and can spread the disease to other partners. The availability of treatments means that the need for vaccines against these diseases is not a top priority, although the increased resistance of gonorrhea to antibiotics may lead to a shift in priorities.
Viral STDs are often highly persistent despite current therapeutic options or have no acceptable treatment available. Therefore, vaccines for certain viral STDs are in use, and others are in development.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B
Many people with hepatitis B dont have any symptoms. If you do get symptoms you may not notice them until two or three months after infection and they can last up to three months. There are two types of infection acute and chronic.
Acute symptoms include:
- flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, fever and aches and pains
- feeling and/or being sick
- jaundice, meaning your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow
- dark urine
- pale faeces .
People who cant fight off acute infection after six months, such as babies, young children and people with a weakened immune system because of HIV, can go on to develop chronic hepatitis B. This is when people are at higher risk of liver failure, liver disease and cancer of the liver.
What Are The Types Of Hepatitis B
There are two types of hepatitis B infection: acute and chronic.
An acute infection happens at the beginning, when you first get infected with hepatitis B. Many people are able to clear it from their bodies and recover. In fact, this is true of about 4 in 5 adults who are infected.
If you are not able to clear the infection within six months or longer, you have chronic hepatitis B. It is chronic hepatitis B that leads to inflammation and the serious, and possibly fatal, illnesses of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Treatment can slow disease progress, reduce the chance of liver cancer and increase your chances of surviving.
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