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Ask Dr. K

I have Hepatitis B. I was diagnosed six weeks ago. Can I give Hep B to my partner by kissing? How about giving or receiving oral sex? We haven't had anal sex yet, but I assume a condom will protect both the top and the bottom?

Active Hepatitis B can be transmitted via bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions, blood and saliva. Saliva can be means of transmission via bites. There has not been documented data about transmission through contact with saliva during kissing. And you're right, latex condoms will protect both partners during anal sex. Remember to use lots of lube so the condom doesn't break.

Your partner will want to avoid contact with your blood or other body fluids directly or on objects such as needles, razors, toothbrushes, etc. To be safe, you should clean household surfaces that might have your blood or other body fluids with a solution of 1 part household bleach and 10 parts water. To protect your partner and friends, co-workers, etc. you should cover any cuts, sores, or rashes you might have with bandages.

Hepatitis B is a very hearty virus and is more easily transmitted than HIV. But Hepatitis B is 100% preventable. If your partner(s) hasn't been immunized yet, he should get vaccinated right away. You can click here for more information on hepatitis and immunization services at San Francisco City Clinic.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Wednesday, November 18, 2009.
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