Public Health England has published new flyers and posters warning sexually active people of the dangers of hepatitis B which can develop into a full blown liver cancer. Hepatitis B, an infection of the liver caused by a virus spread through blood and bodily fluids, has been steadily infecting people through sex. The poster recommends people to protect themselves by getting vaccinated, and to use condoms.
A precursor to liver cancer, or cirrhosis, hepatitis B is often symptomless, leading experts to call it a silent killer. It doesn’t normally have symptoms until the liver is badly damaged. Casual sex and having multiple partners can put you at risk for hepatic cancer.
Symptoms of the virus include flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, a fever, aches and pain, and a loss of appetite. They can also include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin or eyes. At least one in five people get hepatitis B, while the chance of developing liver cancer every year is one in twenty, The Huffinton Post reports.
According to the NHS (National Health Service), the hepatitis B virus can be found in the blood and bodily fluids, such as semen and vaginal fluids, of a carrier of the disease. It can be spread within close circles who use the same injection for drugs, and share needles and other drug equipment. It can also be transmitted through sex with an infected person without using a condom, the Daily Express reports.
Interestingly, getting a tattoo or body piercing, or having a dental procedure, can also spread the virus if the equipments used are unsterilized, or when the environment is unhygienic. Toothbrushes and razors that are contaminated with infected blood can also carry the virus. The liver cancer-causing virus can't be spread by kissing, holding hands, hugging, coughing, sneezing or sharing food.