Recently diagnosed with Hep B - do I need to tell every sexual partner in the past?

I recently found out I have chronic hep b, but the doctors don’t know when I could’ve gotten it. I was vaccinated at birth with the entire series. I’m married now and have only had one sexual partner the past 8 years. Partner is negative on hep b and has never had hep b either despite us having unprotected sex (which is no longer the case once I found out about the diagnosis). I worked in healthcare up until 5 years ago so we are wondering if it possibly happened then. I also have tattoos and piercings.

My question is, are you supposed to tell every previous sexual partner about your diagnosis? Am I supposed to reach out to someone I had sex with in high school from 12 years ago and let them know I have Hep B? No one can say when I got it - no doctors even have a clue, so I’m not really sure what to do here. I’m assuming previous partners were vaccinated since they were born after 1991. And I know most adults clear it if they even get it. I’m afraid of the anger/rage if I were to tell anyone or if it’s even necessary.

Hi @Carol1420,

Great question and one that I’m sure a lot of people have, so thank you for posting. I suspect there’s not going to be an easy answer for this.

I think it would be noble of you to try to get in touch with previous sexual partners to inform them that they may have been exposed. I’m not sure anyone would blame you if you yourself didn’t know (and you could convey that during the talk).

I also don’t necessarily think there’s a social expectation that you would. I guess it comes down to your own judgement and going by the golden rule “do unto others… etc.”. I’m not sure what the consensus is in the community; would be great to hear from you.

Regarding when you got it, the vaccine doesn’t take hold in some individuals (leading to a lower than protective antibody level), so it is still possible that you can get it even if vaccinated, even though the vaccination is very effective in most cases.