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Hep B and kissing/oral sex
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Hep B and kissing/oral sex

I am a woman and I am a Hepatitis B carrier. I know that there is a risk of transmitting HBV through vaginal and anal sex. Is it possible for me to transmit HBV to my partner if I engage in deep kissing and perform fellatio on him? I've spoken to two doctors about this - one told me there is no risk and the other said that there is a small/low risk. I've researched this question online and I've seen a mix of responses.
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Welcome to the Forum.  The problem here is that there are no studies that I am aware of on the transmissibility of hepatitis B through oral sex or, for that matter, even if the virus is present in saliva.  The possibility of oral transmission of hepatitis B is not even mentioned in textbooks of infectious diseases or of medicine.  So the best I can provide is an educated guess.  Remembering that many people have now been vaccinated with the highly effective hepatitis B vaccine and that we DO know that HIV (which parallels hepatitis B in most ways) is only very rarely ACQUIRED (vs transmitted) by giving oral sex to an infected partner, I would say that if it occurs at all t is a very, very rare event.  Obviously, in any relationship in which one person has a chronic STI we suggest disclosure and would do so in your case but, beyond that, I would not worry an awful lot.

I'm sorry there are not more data.  I hope this perspective is helpful to you. EWH
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Thank you very much for your response, Dr. Hook. You have been helpful.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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