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How can I prevent spreading Hepatitis B virus?

Q: I am a 21-year-old male. I am hepatitis B positive. Can my partner get infected if we have oral sex? What is the right kind of food I should have? Can I have alcohol? Also, how to protect my parents and sister from contracting the disease?

A:Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted by blood through unprotected sex (vaginal, oral or anal). The disease may manifest as an acute symptomatic illness (acute hepatitis) or be asymptomatic (leading to immunity to HBV or a chronic carrier state). Some chronic carriers may develop cirrhosis of the liver and hepatocellular carcinoma and treatment is recommended for patients with chronic active hepatitis. People can get HBV infection from you by coming in contact with your blood or semen. Cover all cuts and open sores with a bandage, wash your hands well after touching your blood or body fluids and throw away used personal items such as tissues etc. in a bag so others will not be exposed to your blood. Do not share toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers/scissors, wash clothes, or anything that may have come in contact with your blood or body fluids. Do not donate blood. You would need to tell your partner that you are infected and she would need to see a doctor for HBV testing and appropriate immunisation. All household members must see the doctor and be tested for the disease. A normal diet should be taken, as there is no specific dietary restriction, but alcohol must be avoided.

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