Of the multiple types of hepatitis virus, hepatitis B is one of the most common. Much like hepatitis C, hepatitis B is an infection that can be serious enough to cause long term and permanent liver damage. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 38,000 new cases of hepatitis B were reported in a single year.
How Is Hepatitis B Spread?
Hepatitis B is a virus that is spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. Because it can be transmitted during sex, it is considered to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The most common ways that hepatitis B is spread from one person to another include:
- Sharing needles
- Having unprotected sex
- During childbirth
- Any other contact with blood or bodily fluids from a hepatitis B-positive person.
“Unprotected sex” can often give sexually active adults a false sense of confidence that use of a condom will protect them from Hepatitis B. While a condom is one protection measure, and always recommended, it is not a sure-fire preventative measure. It is important that you know your status and that you know the status of your partners; the exact environment SeroMatch has established for sexually active singles.
The Dangers of Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a life threatening condition. To be sure, the CDC website cited above reports that each year, between 2,000 and 4,000 in the United States die as a result of cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer caused by hepatitis B. In addition to these chronic, long-term complications, acute hepatitis B can also cause jaundice, nausea, pain and a feeling of weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite.
Preventing Against & Treating Hepatitis B
There is a vaccine to protect against hepatitis B. The CDC recommends that all unvaccinated adults should seek the vaccination, and that children should receive their first dose of the vaccine at birth, the second dose at one to two months of age, and the third dose between six and 18 months of age.
Treating hepatitis B once it is contracted is complicated. If your hepatitis B is acute, it may go away on its own. However, if it develops into chronic hepatitis B, your health and life may be in jeopardy. Treatments for chronic hepatitis B, according to the Mayo Clinic, include having a liver transplant, taking antiviral medications, and injections of interferon alfa-2b.
Protect Yourself Against STDs
In addition to getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B, another way to protect yourself is to abstain from sex or unprotected sex with partners who have not been tested. Online dating, or any dating for that matter, comes with the inherent risk that you do not know the status of the individuals you are pursuing relationships with. An added layer of protection to your dating regimen is to join the SeroMatch community and only seek physical relationships within your SeroMatch network. To learn more about how SeroMatch works, read our FAQs today.