Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks and injures the liver. Two billion people (or 1 in 3) have been infected and about 300 million people are living with a chronic hepatitis B infection.
The good news is that is preventable and treatable. There is a simple blood test to diagnose a hepatitis B infection. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you are infected. There is a safe vaccine to prevent . There are effective drug therapies that can manage a chronic hepatitis B infection, and a cure is within sight.
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and fatigue
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
The virus is passed from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids. It does not spread by sneezing or coughing.
Common ways that HBV can spread are:
- Sexual contact. if you have unprotected sex with someone who is infected. The virus can pass to you if the person’s blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body.
- Sharing of needles. HBV easily spreads through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing IV drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk
- Accidental needle sticks. is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
- Mother to child. Pregnant women infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, the newborn can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected in almost all cases. Talk to your doctor about being tested for hepatitis B if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant.
- Children and adolescents not vaccinated at birth
- Those who work or live in a center for people who are developmentally disabled
- Health care workers, emergency workers and other people who come into contact with blood
- Anyone who has a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV
- Men who have sex with men
- People who have multiple sexual partners
- Sexual partners of someone who has hepatitis B
- People who inject illegal drugs or share needles and syringes
- People with chronic liver disease
- People with end-stage kidney disease
Hepatitis B Diagnosis
- Hepatitis B surface antigen and antibody(HBsAg). Antigens are proteins on the hepatitis B virus. Antibodies are proteins made by your immune cells. They show up in your blood between 1 and 10 weeks after exposure. If you recover, they go away after 4 to 6 months. If they’re still there after 6 months, your condition is chronic.
- Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs). These show up after HBsAg disappears. They’re what make you immune to hepatitis B for the rest of your life.