The Hepatitis B virus is transmitted by exposure to infected blood, semen and other bodily fluids and from mother to baby (at birth).
In Singapore, approximately 6% of the population are Hepatitis B positive. Most of them contracted the infection during birth (mother is a Hepatitis B carrier).
The number of new cases continues to drop, largely from universal childhood vaccination programs, started from October 1985.
Main risk factors for Hepatitis B infection are unprotected sexual intercourse and intravenous drug use (sharing needles and syringes) and sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.
There is also a potential risk from acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing, manicures and dental treatment if instruments are not sterilized before use.
Other risk factors include working in healthcare, blood transfusions, dialysis, living with an infected person, travel in countries where the infection rate is high (e.g., East Asia).
The aim of all vaccinations is to prevent infection. Therefore, vaccination is best given before a person becomes sexually active. However, it is still relevant if you are already sexually active.
Hepatitis B has been preventable by vaccination since 1982. Three doses are required.
Hepatitis B vaccination has been included in the Singapore childhood immunisation program for all newborns since 1st September 1987.
Adults born before 1987 will not have been automatically vaccinated. Cross Street Medical
offers Hepatitis B vaccination. Speak to our doctors about what you may need. Female doctors are available by appointment. We ensure patient privacy and confidentiality for all discussions, tests and treatments.
Within 6 months of infection, a person may develop acute (short-term) hepatitis.
Acute Hepatitis B has the following symptoms:
- Jaundice (itchy yellowing of skin and “whites” of eyes)
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Fever and fatigue
- Dark tea-colored urine
- Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite
Hepatitis B may progress to or present as a long-term, chronic infection (chronic Hepatitis B).
Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults.
Chronic Hepatitis B (or Hepatitis B carriers) may not have symptoms but there is a significant risk of liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
Singapore Adult Vaccination Guidelines recommend that all adults be vaccinated (if not already vaccinated as a child).
Hepatitis B infection can be diagnosed 30 to 60 days after exposure. The diagnosis is usually confirmed by blood test (Hepatitis B antigen).Cross Street Medical
offers screening tests for Hepatitis B. Speak to our doctors about what you may need. Female doctors are available by appointment. We ensure patient privacy and confidentiality for all discussions, tests and treatments.
Hepatitis B infection is managed by a Hepatologist and may require long-term follow-up due to risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
For those who do not have Hepatitis B infection, we strongly recommend vaccination.