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Hepatitis B


It is a viral infection that affects the liver and blood.


  • Long term complications can include liver failure and cirrhosis of the liver
  • Increased risk of miscarriage or premature labour
  • You can pass it on to your baby during pregnancy


  • Through blood and other body fluids
  • Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • From an infected mother to baby during pregnancy
  • Sharing drug using equipment with an infected person
  • Tattoos, acupuncture and piercings with non-sterilised equipment


  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellow colouring of the eyes and skin)
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness


  • You may need medical treatment
  • You should stop or reduce the amount of alcohol you drink to reduce further strain on your liver


  • Get a Hepatitis B vaccination free from your GUM/STI clinic
  • Don’t share needles with drug users
  • Protect your sexual health - always use a new condom correctly and put it on before you have sex

(Source: Health Service Executive (HSE), 2007)

HSE leaflet about Hepatitis B