Prevention is better than cure. If you do not have one of the viruses that cause hepatitis then there are ways you can minimise the risk of contracting one. If you do have one of them then you may want to reduce the risk to those around you. Some of this section may apply to you. Please use it as a reference.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
In the UK, all pregnant women are tested for hepatitis B and, if they have the virus, their babies are vaccinated soon after birth. This means that it is safe for them to breastfeed their children. However, women with hepatitis B should not donate milk to breast milk banks or breastfeed other people’s children.
Injecting drug use and hepatitis
Even spots of blood too small to be seen by the human eye can carry enough of a virus to infect someone. Using syringes and any other part of the injecting equipment, including needle, spoon, filter and water that have previously been used by someone else can easily lead to infection with hepatitis.
Besides helping to prevent pregnancy, condoms are also effective in preventing the transmission of viruses. If you have hepatitis B, your partner should be immunised against hepatitis B (if not already infected).
Other sexual activities that can transmit hepatitis
Oral sex, which is licking/sucking the penis or vagina, can result in the transmission of hepatitis B. If you want to protect yourself from this then you could use a condom without any lubricant on it, or a vaginal barrier such as a dental dam. Hepatitis B can be contracted if you swallow faeces (poo) from someone with the virus. Therefore, if you rim someone (lick around their anus) or lick a finger that has been inside their rectum, then there is a chance you could contract hepatitis B.
Sex toys, such as dildos or vibrators, could also transmit hepatitis B if they are then inserted into someone else without being properly cleaned.
NHS Lanarkshire Harm Reduction Team
Provide information and testing on all blood borne viruses and provide access to and disposal of sterile injecting equipment. For further information contact:
The Harm Reduction Team on 01236 441067
South Outreach Team on 07884 454 961
North Outreach Team on 07810 153 940
NHS Lanarkshire Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
Provides sexual health services and information and testing for Hepatitis and other blood borne viruses. For more information about local sexual health services go to the Services section of this site or call our appointment line on 0845 618 7191 (Line open Monday to Fridayy 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.)
GP/Primary Care Services
If you think you have been at risk ask your GP or Practice Nurse about testing for Hepatitis B and other blood borne viruses. For information on GP services in Lanarkshire go to:
For information on Hepatitis Testing Services in other parts of Scotland go to: