Not everyone will need vaccination. Some people have antibodies from a previous infection that they did not know about. This can be checked by a blood test.
To have full protection from hepatitis B you need three or four separate doses of the vaccine. A nurse will probably give you the injection into a muscle in your arm. The first injection is usually followed by one a month later and another at six months. In some circumstances you can receive a rapid course of injections over one month. It is important that you complete the course since you will not have full protection until after the third injection. Booster doses may be required.
Your doctor may recommend that you have a blood test two to four months after the final injection to determine whether the vaccine has worked. A few people find out at this time that the vaccine has not been effective. If this happens, then your doctor may suggest a repeat course of injections.
Who should have the hepatitis B vaccine?
If you have hepatitis B then your partner, children and other household members should go and request a vaccination. Since there is no risk of infection from social contact, occasional visitors and friends do not need protection. You should also have Hepatitis B vaccine if your lifestyle puts you at risk of infection.
Treating acute hepatitis B
Most people with acute hepatitis B do not need treatment, but you should seek advice from your doctor. You may feel more tired than usual and need rest, but will eventually recover. If this happens, you will have acquired life-long protection against the virus.
Treatment for people with chronic hepatitis B
If you have hepatitis B for more than six months you may benefit from treatment. You will need to see a specialist regularly to detect any damage to your liver. If your liver function test shows results your specialist is concerned about, you may be offered treatment for your hepatitis B. In Lanarkshire, treatment for hepatitis B infection is usually co-ordinated through Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS & Hepatitis Service (LHAHS) or the Hepatology Service at Hairmyres Hospital.
Co-infection of viral hepatitis with HIV
When referring to people with HIV and chronic viral hepatitis, it is common to use the term “co-infection”.
Once someone has is tested and diagnosed positive with Hepatitis B they will be referred to the specialist treatment services to be assessed for treatment. There are two main Hepatitis treatment services in Lanarkshire. These are:
Hairmyres Hepatitis Service
Gastro Nurse Office – Ward 17
East Kilbride, G75 8RG
Tel: 01355 584049 (answer machine)
Monklands BBV Service
Airdrie, ML6 0JS
Tel: 01236 712247 or 01236 712246 (answer machine)
For more information on Hepatitis Treatment Services in other parts of Scotland go to: www.hepatitisscotlandc.org.uk/service-finder.aspx