Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation in the liver. Hepatitis B is very contagious and is common in the Netherlands.
Hepatitis B can occur in two forms. You have the acute inflammation. Some people can become very ill from this. The symptoms are:
Other people have less severe symptoms or even no symptoms at all. This form usually passes on its own. The virus then also disappears from your body. You can no longer pass it on to someone else. There is also the chronic infection. Some people then have no symptoms, while others become very ill. This group of people can develop a permanent inflammation of the liver.
Usually, the disease passes without medical treatment. The virus then also disappears from your body. After this, you are immune to hepatitis B. This means that you cannot be infected with the virus again. Sometimes, the virus stays in the body. You then remain a lifelong 'carrier' of the virus. We call this chronic hepatitis B. You will remain infectious for others throughout your life. You can even die of it. That is why it is important that you use condoms when having sex. If you have a regular partner, he or she can be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
To prevent problems in the long term, it is important that you have a regular test for an STI such as Hepatitis B. Preferably once every three months. It is even better to get vaccinated against hepatitis B. This can be done for free at P&G Zevenhuizen. When you are tested for the first time, we will investigate whether you have previously been exposed to hepatitis B. After you have been vaccinated against hepatitis B, you do not need to be tested for it again. After the vaccinations, you are protected against Hepatitis B for life.
There are medicines to combat a chronic infection with hepatitis B. But these are not always successful and can have serious side effects. If you are HIV positive, the treatment of chronic hepatitis is even less successful. It is best to prevent hepatitis B. Vaccination is the most effective option.