Hep B Blog

How Much Do You Really Know About Sex and Hepatitis B? Take This Quiz and Find Out

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

By Christine Kukka

It’s Sexual Health Awareness month and a great time to test your knowledge about how hepatitis B is — and isn’t — spread sexually.

We know hepatitis B is easily transmitted through sex. It’s a resilient virus, can live for up to a week on a dry surface and it’s 50- to 100-times more infectious than HIV.  In fact, sexual contact is the most common way hepatitis B is spread in the United States. So let’s see how much you know:

I’m in my 20s and can safely assume everyone has been vaccinated against hepatitis B, so I don’t have to disclose my infection.   True or False?

False. New hepatitis B cases have indeed been steadily declining since the vaccine was introduced in the 1980s, but not everyone has been vaccinated. Here’s proof. As a result of the heroin epidemic sweeping through rural America, new hepatitis B infections have risen for the first time in decades among 20- and 30-year-olds who were not lucky enough to be immunized during childhood.

Oral sex doesn’t transmit hepatitis B.   True or False?

It’s complicated. There are no confirmed reports of hepatitis B infection resulting from oral sex, but there’s still a risk for infection. If you have a high viral load (HBV DNA), you may still be putting partners at risk of infection if they have bleeding gums, mouth sores, or anything that increases the likelihood of infectious fluids entering their bodies. Bottom line, oral sex has a lower risk of spreading hepatitis B than other sexual practices, but some risk remains. And don’t forget, other sexually-transmitted infections such as  chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are spread through oral sex. Using a condom or dental dam reduces infection risk.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

An uninfected woman is at higher risk of catching hepatitis B from an infected male partner, than an uninfected man who has sex with an infected woman.   True or False?

True.  It’s not gender but sexual activity that usually defines the infection risk, but in this case an  uninfected woman is at very high risk of infection if she has unprotected sex and is on the receiving end of hepatitis B-infected semen.

I’m positive for the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), but my viral load is undetectable. I don’t have to worry about disclosing or spreading hepatitis B.    True or False?

False.  As long as you test positive for the surface antigen, you still have the hepatitis B virus in your blood and body fluids. Yes, the risk is lower because you’re HBV DNA-undetectable, but you still need to practice safe sex and disclose your hepatitis B to your prospective sexual partners.

Anal sex is more effective at transmitting hepatitis B than vaginal sex.   True or False?

True.  Any sexual activity that might cause abrasions, cuts, or other trauma is especially risky. To minimize risk, experts recommend use of a condom.

Kissing can transmit hepatitis B.    True or False?

False. Spreading hepatitis B through kissing is highly unlikely, however, deep kissing that involves the exchange of large amounts of saliva might result in infection if there are cuts or abrasions in the mouth of the infected person, especially if they have a high viral load.

Blood has more hepatitis B virus in it than semen or vaginal fluids.  True or False?

True.  Blood has the highest volume of virus. Semen and vaginal fluids have intermediate levels, and urine and feces have the lowest level.


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13 thoughts on “How Much Do You Really Know About Sex and Hepatitis B? Take This Quiz and Find Out”

  1. Hello. I am the coordinator for the Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW) I want to commend you for this blog. As we try to raise awareness around Hepatitis B in different communities in our area lack of knowledge about it one the most significant barrier we encounter. Assessment tools like this can not only help people raise their awareness but also help them gauge their risk level.

    1. I got diagnosis for Hep B in middle of last year am in my 30s.but when my doctor found out that I have Hep b I told then i have been with my ex wife for almost 3years and they called my ex wife if she had the vaccine yet for Hep B but she told then No immediately they did test and gave her the vaccines she does not have the virus or infected.she has my doctor if am contagious they told her No.
      Toward the ending of the year my doctor send me for ultrasound to check my liver and blood but my result came out perfect I have no liver damage.what she told me I should drink more water and eat healthy food.Also she told me to stay away from Alcholo or i can have one or two bottle?But am not sure if i am Active B or Inactive B please try and explain to me.But I was not given any medicine or treatment for now. But in the spring this year 2017 they told me I will be seen a hepatology who deal with Hep B..but my question is am Acute Hep b or chronic Hep b.Active or Inactive B
      lastly I have been dating this woman for almost three months but I used to wear condom when having sex but my condom broke when having sex but I did not disclose to her that I have Hep b.But she have not been vaccinated yet for Hep b but am really worried.can I be convicted for not telling her .
      hope to hear from you

      1. Hello: I am sorry to sound harsh, but ethically before anyone with hepatitis B has sex with someone, they should disclose their hepatitis B, even if they are practicing safe sex and using a condom — because as you found out, no birth control device is perfect and condoms can tear.
        You should tell her IMMEDIATELY and she should get vaccinated and even given HBIG (hepatitis B antibodies) as a way to prevent infection, if she has not been vaccinated.
        When you do not tell your partner before you become intimate, and then tell her or him after sex, you lose a lot of trust. How in the future can they trust you not to lie or be honest if you could not tell them about your hepatitis B, which puts them at risk?
        What if you fall in love and want to marry, you risk harming the relationship by disclosing after the fact.
        Please go to her immediately and tell her. You owe her that honesty. Good luck.

  2. after sex we test blood her hbsag is negative
    and she has Been vaccinated with first dose
    1 day before vaccinated we had sex but condom were tear
    she is protected or not plz help me

    1. Hello: No one can say for sure if she is protected, it is good that she was immediately vaccinated. Make sure she receives the second and third vaccine doses on time, and please practice safe sex in the meantime.
      About one to two months after her third dose, have her get tested for the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and surface antibody (anti-HBs). As long as she tests positive for the surface antibodies and has at least 10 mIU/mL, she will be protected against hepatitis B. Good luck.

  3. good day to whom it may concern,
    I am just worried this time because for a period of 9 months with my boyfriend,only today he just told me that he had a HepaB at the year of 1991.and told me its been cured.is it really true that hepatitisB can be cured or cleared if a person had it long time ago?please I need an advice,,as I am alarmed and worried this time,I never had a vaccines.is there any chance that he still have the hepaB?and will be transmitted to me?thank you and your advices will be highly appreciated.Gobless

    1. Hello: He may have had an acute case of hepatitis B. When healthy adults are newly infected, their immune systems are usually able to clear out the infection within a six-month period. Ask him if he had an “acute” hepatitis B infection. If you (or he) are uncertain, go to a lab and get tested and if you are not infected, please get vaccinated against hepatitis B so you never have to worry about this again.
      Good luck.

    1. Hello: Saliva does not spread hepatitis B, so kissing and/or exposure to saliva will not spread infection. Good luck.

  4. Hi…
    Recently i am diagnosed with chronic hepa b. I immediately asked if my partner has already been vaccinated with anti hepa b.. and he said yes, since he’s a kid. But still i told him to get test, what if the result is negative.. is there still a chance that i can transmit the virus if we already want to have a child? Thank you.

    1. Hello: More than 90 percent of people vaccinated during childhood will be protected against infection by their immunization.
      As long as your partner was not infected before he was vaccinated, he will be protected.
      There is a good chance that his antibodies that protect him will decrease over time (and be less than 10 mIU/mL), however the immune system will still retain an immune memory of the virus and be ready to fight any infection.
      If his antibodies are less than 10 mIU/mL, have him get one more dose of the hepatitis B vaccine (a booster) and then two months later have him retested.
      Good luck.

  5. Hello sir i am 21 year old my marrige is fixed
    Plz sir tell me if i want to do deep kiss with my partner or unsafe sex
    My hapititis b transmited to my wife or not
    Plz sir tell me i want to safe life of other person

    1. Hello: Yes, you can marry and have children if you have hepatitis B. But there are some important steps to take to make sure your partner and your future children do not become infected.
      Before you marry or have sexual relations, you must make sure your partner is vaccinated against hepatitis B and has enough hepatitis B antibodies (HBsAb) to protect them.
      Have them go to a doctor and get screened for hepatitis B. If they are not infected and haven’t been vaccinated in the past, they should get the three shots of the vaccine. (They may have been immunized during childhood.) The second shot is given 30 days after the first, and the third shot is given six months after the first shot.
      About one or two months after the third vaccine shot, have your partner screened for hepatitis B antibodies/titers. Or, if they were immunized in the past, have them tested now to make sure they have enough antibodies to protect them. The number of antibodies should be more than 10 mIU/mL. That means they have enough antibodies to fight off infection.
      If they were immunized long ago, their antibody levels may be under 10, if that is the case talk to your doctor and get one more hepatitis B vaccine shot (called a booster), and then test again to see if the antibodies have increased.
      Until you are certain that your partner has enough titers to fully protect them from hepatitis B, you must practice safe sex and use a condom.\
      Good luck.

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