ZocdocAnswersCan I still get Hepatitis B from my girlfriend who is a carrier?

Question

Can I still get Hepatitis B from my girlfriend who is a carrier?

We're both sexually active. I have recieved the vaccination in high school.

Answer

Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver that can be passed from person to person through body fluids such as blood and through sexual activity. When someone become infected with hepatitis B, they sometimes clear the virus (through the body's natural immune system) or sometimes they progress to a chronic infection. If they have been vaccinated (such as you have), then antibodies circulating in the blood can defend against the virus. There is really no such thing as a "carrier" status for hepatitis B. To determine if she is infected, she should have a blood test for the hepatitis B surface antigen. If this is positive, then she is infected. A blood test for hepatitis B core antigen will tell how contagious she is. If she is negative for both of these, and she is positive for hepatitis B surface antibody, then that means she is immune and non-infectious. To determine your risk, I would suggest that both of you schedule an appointment with your primary care physicians. You need to have a blood test for the hepatitis B surface antibody which if positive verifies that you have been adequately vaccinated. She should have the above blood tests to determine the status of her infection. Again, please speak with your primary care physician.

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