Hepatitis B Community
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Avatar universal

How could I get infected at the first place?

Hi every one,

I'm 30 years old and just found out two days ago that I have a chronic Hep B. The result came unexpectedly after an anonymous and free blood test. I never had any relative illness throughout my life, so I am quite curious on how I got infected at the first place.
I am Asian, and after talking to my Dad about my blood test result, I just found out that my oldest sister had the acute viral hepatitis in her infance, but cured. Is it possible that I got the virus from sharing the house with her during my infancy?
I'm not  using drugs, and so far I only have outercourse with 3 persons. The previous two worked in health service and/or in high risk area (Asia/Africa), so they should have received the vaccination, I suppose. The current one was in a military about ten years ago, and he told me that he was vaccinated as well, but to be safe, I asked him to go through another test.
I had one surgery in the past, but there was no blood transfusion. The doctor who explained the result to me told me the possibility of getting the infection from unsteriles medical equipement, but I just want to make sure that anyone who was and is in contact with me would not get contamination from me, that is why I want to find out about how I got contaminated.
All views and comments are welcome.

Thank you!
12 Responses
Avatar universal
The two possibilities that you mentioned were possible as well as other possibilities:

    * Sexual transmission. You may become infected if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body. You can also become infected from shared sexual devices if they're not washed or covered with a condom. The virus is present in the secretions of someone who's infected and enters your body through small tears that can develop in your rectum or vagina during sexual activity.
    * Transmission through needle sharing. HBV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. That's why sharing IV drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of hepatitis B. Your risk increases if you inject drugs frequently or also engage in high-risk sexual behavior. Although avoiding the use of injected drugs is the most reliable way to prevent infection, you may not choose to do this. If so, one way to reduce your risk is to participate in a needle exchange program in your community. These programs allow you to exchange used needles and syringes for sterile equipment. In addition, consider seeking counseling or treatment for your drug use.
    * Transmission through accidental needle sticks. Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood. If you fall into one of these categories, get vaccinated against hepatitis B in addition to following routine precautions when handling needles and other sharp instruments.
    * Transmission from mother to child. Pregnant women infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies. If you have hepatitis B, having your baby receive a shot of hepatitis B immune globulin at birth, along with the first in a series of three hepatitis B vaccines, will greatly reduce your baby's risk of getting the virus.

To protect people in contact with you, know your HBV status accurately and follow the directions of your doctor.

Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Living in Asia is in itself a risk factor.  Children spread the disease among each other fairly easily.  Are you certain that your mother is not a carrier?
Avatar universal
Also, vaccinations in Asia were another common mode of transmission if you were vaccinated before safe handling procedures were always observed.  That is probably how I was infected.
Avatar universal
Thank you cajim for your reply. I will make an appointment with my doctor as soon as possible for the HBV status check.
Avatar universal
Hi zellyf, thank you for your reply. In fact, I am not certain that my Mom is not a carrier, but she does regular check-up every six months since two years ago, and so far her SGOT and SGPT are always under the upper limit. I checked that already with her, to make sure that I didn't contaminate her during my stay in my parents' house last dec. But I guess I have to check as well her result for the Hep B blood test result to make sure.
Avatar universal
To determine your Mom's HBV status, check her HBsAg and anti-HBs results.

To protect your parents,

    *  Wash your hands thoroughly after any potential exposure
    * Avoid direct contact with blood and bodily fluids
    * Clean up blood spills with a fresh diluted bleach solution
    * Cover all cuts carefully
    * Avoid sharing sharp items such as razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes, and earrings or body rings
    * Discard sanitary napkins and tampons into plastic bags
    * Avoid illegal street drugs (injecting, inhaling, snorting, popping pills)
    * Make sure new, sterile needles are used for ear or body piercing, tattoos, and acupuncture
Avatar universal
Hi cajim,

Many thanks for your useful advices. My parents and I are not drug addict, alcoholic and/or having high-risk sexual behaviour, so I guess what left for me to protect them from being infected by virus I carry is limiting any close contact. Thank you again, and I'm really glad to find this support group!
Avatar universal
so I guess what left for me to protect them from being infected by virus I carry is limiting any close contact.

If you are not in acute infectious stage, hugging and kissing your parents to express your love for them is safe.  Just be careful about your blood, etc.
Avatar universal
Hello again,

I am not at the acute infectious stage, at least from my test result (HBe ag -; ab anti-Hbe +; ab IgM HBc - ; HBs ag +; ab anti-HBs -, AST/ALT 22 UI/l). But I have an appointment next Monday for the viral load and serology (sorry, I'm totally new in Hep B so I probably misspell some terms..) to have clearer idea about my current Hep B stage.
Avatar universal
Yes hepbi4051, as cajim said, you don't have to limit close contact.  Your body fluids (in particular blood) have to get into your parents bloodstream through a cut or the mucus membranes.  That's why you don't want to share something like a razor which creates zillions of tiny cuts in the skin and leaves traces of blood on the razor which can then transfer to the next person making a zillion tiny cuts in their skin.  But you aren't going to hurt them by close contact.  Be reasonably cautious about your blood product but don't isolate yourself.

Liver function is not a reliable indicator of infection.  You have to have to Hep B test itself.
Avatar universal
HI zellyf,
Thanks again for the comment, it is true that I have the tendency of isolating myself, now that I know I carry the virus..I just don't want anybody close to me get infected as well.

And about blood product, for monthly period, what is the best way to discard the sanitary napkins/tampons please? Is it safe to throw them away with other garbage in the same plastic bag? Or soak them with bleach before discarding them? Any suggestion will be welcomed.
Avatar universal
Just throwing them away in plastic is fine.  The virus can live in dried blood but only for a matter of days.
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