How do I protect myself from Hepatitis B?

Monday January 18 2021
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By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I am Hepatitis B negative but recently found out my wife is positive. How do we engage in sexual intercourse since we need to start a family? Aaron
Dear Aaron,
People mainly get infected with the Hepatitis B virus through sexual intercourse with infected partners or when infected mothers pass it on to their unborn babies during delivery.

Vaccination of a sex partner protects them from getting infected by an infected partner or through other ways. It is important that you get all the three shots (first one when given, should be followed by two other doses one and six months after the first shot). Until all three shots are given, you should avoid unprotected sex with your wife.

Your wife requires monitoring so that if the germ shows signs of multiplying or damaging the liver, appropriate drugs should be given. For delivery, a caesarean section is preferred after which the new-born within 12 hours of being born should be given appropriate immunisation (first dose of hepatitis B vaccine and a shot called hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG)). 

One to two months after completing the three shots of vaccination, the doctor will test the baby’s blood to see whether it is protected or not and take further steps according to the results of the tests.