Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
I got hepatitis B from my last boyfriend...am I contagious to new partners?
Linda Lesondak, PhD on August 8, 2011
First,I’m sorry to hear that your former boyfriend passed the hepatitis B virus to you. But thinking about how to protect your future partners from HBV is a great idea. Here are my best thoughts for your consideration:
To be honest, yes: there’s a chance that you can pass hepatitis B to a new partner. But there are ways to prevent that from happening. The most recentupdate on hepatitis B prevention from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases recommends that you:
Tell your sexual partner or partners that you’re positive for HBV
Encourage your partner to get vaccinated for HBV
Use latex condoms or dental dams with any/all sexual activity
Don’t share toothbrushes or razorblades, needles or syringes
If you have any open cuts or scratches, always cover them with a bandage
Make sure to clean up any blood spills with detergent or bleach
These easy steps can go a long way to protect your future partners. And you don’t have to worry about sharing food or eating utensils, or kissing or sneezing...hepatitis B isn’t transferred in those ways.
And remember, hepatitis B can cause serious liver damage if left untreated. If you haven’t done so already, please talk to a liver or infectious disease specialist about appropriate treatment. You can also learn more about hepatitis risk factors and treatment in our Expert Guide to Hepatitis B.
I commend you for thinking about how to protect your future partners and I send you my best wishes for managing your infection.
Dr. Lesondak is a Community Psychologist with the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her areas of expertise include STDs, HIV, preventive care, public health and community planning, as well as human sexuality and women’s health. Dr. Lesondak was educated at Georgia University in Atlanta.