Hepatitis B

What is it?

Hepatitis is an STI caused by a virus. Hepatitis attacks the liver, which is responsible for processing waste in the body. When the liver is not working well, that waste builds up in the body and makes people ill. There are several types of hepatitis, Hepatitis B can be spread through sexual activity.

How can someone get it?

People can get hepatitis B through vaginal, oral, and anal sex with someone who has hepatitis B. It can also be contracted by sharing needles and drugs. Pregnant people can share hepatitis B with their babies during childbirth. Touching blood, like sharing razors or toothbrushes, or an open sore of someone with hepatitis B can cause an infection as well.

How can it be prevented?

One of the best ways to prevent getting hepatitis B is to get the vaccine, which many young people now get when they are babies. Someone can see if they need to get the vaccine by asking their medical provider. If someone is pregnant with hepatitis B, vaccination right after the baby is born can prevent them from having a hepatitis B infection.

Other ways Hepatitis B can be prevented are

  • using condomsinternal condoms, or dental dams as a barrier between the bodies;

  • not having sex or being abstinent;

  • getting tested regularly, especially with new sexual partners, to know your status;

  • talking openly, honestly, and without judgment with sexual partners about STIs;

  • learning how to care of your health.


About half of the people who have hepatitis B have symptoms.

Those symptoms could be

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills

  • Dark-colored pee

  • Pain in the joints

  • Yellow-colored skin or eyes

Who should get tested?

People should get tested if they are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.

In the following cases, people should get tested soon

  • If other symptoms like bumps, swelling, or sores are noticed.

  • If someone is sexually active and/or gay or bisexual male-bodied person.

  • If someone is an injection drug user.

  • If someone has gotten a tattoo from an unregulated place.

  • If someone has been incarcerated.

  • When someone has a new sexual partner.

  • When someone is told by a sexual partner that they have hepatitis B or other STI.

  • When someone has HIV.

  • When someone is pregnant.

How is it tested?

Hepatitis B is tested with a blood sample. This test is done by a medical provider. It can take some time, possibly up to 2 months, for it to show up on a test. If someone is not feeling well, they should see a medical provider immediately.

How is it treated?

There is no cure for hepatitis B. Short-term hepatitis B usually gets better on its own and symptoms go away on their own with rest and taking good care of one’s body. With long-term hepatitis B, there are some medications that can help people deal with their symptoms and reduce the chance of serious health issues happening.
Just because someone was cured doesn’t mean that they can’t get gonorrhea again, the medication doesn’t prevent it. Many people get reinfected, which is why it is important to tell sexual partners so they can also get treatment. When getting treated for gonorrhea, a medical provider may ask for the person to return in a few months to get tested again.

Where to get checked?

If you are in Pueblo, Colorado, contact the Family Planning Clinic from Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

English: Call (719) 583-4380. Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
Español: Llama (719) 583-4376. Lunes a viernes 8:00 AM a 4:30 PM. 

If you are somewhere else in the United States you can find other resources here.

Go Ask Tara

Go Ask Tara is on a mission to provide sex education and help the youth of Colorado prevent pregnancy and STIs.