Hepatitis B

Cause: Hepatitis B Virus


What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection.


How is Hepatitis B transmitted from person to person?

It is spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex, sharing needles to inject drugs or for any other reason, and contact with infected blood.


What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?

Symptoms can show up within 1 to 9 months of becoming infected with Hepatitis B. When symptoms are present they include: skin eruptions, itching, aching joints, arthritis, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, dark urine, jaundice, and moderate liver enlargement and tenderness.


How can you test for Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B can be detected through a blood test.


Can Hepatitis B be treated and cured?

No specific treatment exists for Hepatitis B. Supportive care should be given to the patient who has symptoms of the infection. Some people recover completely. Some people can never be cured. Their symptoms may go away, but they are still able to transmit the virus.


What are the possible long term effects of having Hepatitis B?

It can cause chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and death. Although liver failure and death are extremely rare.


How can Hepatitis B transmission be prevented?

No method is completely foolproof. People who have only one sexual partner are the least likely to get Hepatitis B. If you do have more than one partner, or are unsure if your partner may have more than one partner, it is very important to use condoms. It should be noted, however, that condoms cannot protect areas they do not cover. For example: the groin area, the upper thighs and the abdomen.


Immunization

Another way is to have a series of vaccinations to have the person immunized against Hepatitis B.