What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B, known as HBV (hepatitis B virus) is a virus that infects the liver (the liver helps to digest food and keeps the blood healthy.) He is currently the only STD that is preventable with a vaccine.

Who can get Hepatitis B?

Anyone can get hepatitis B. People who have unprotected sex or injecting drug users are more likely to get hepatitis B.

How is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B can live in all body fluids, but is mainly transmitted through blood, semen and vaginal fluids. The virus can also live in body fluids such as saliva, tears and breast milk. It is possible to become infected in the following ways:

* Having sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with an infected person
* Sharing personal items like razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers with an infected person
* Sharing needles to inject drugs with an infected person
* Using non-sterile needles or equipment for tattooing, piercing the ears to wear earrings, or apply acupuncture
* A mother infected with hepatitis B can also pass the virus to her baby during childbirth.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?

Many people have no symptoms. Some people may have hepatitis B without any symptoms and then become immune (which means they are protected against future infections with hepatitis B). Some people may have symptoms that disappear and then become immune. Other contract the virus and never become immune. These people are carriers and may continue to transmit the virus to others, even years later. If a person has symptoms, they may take 6 weeks to 6 months to appear after infection with hepatitis B. Many people with hepatitis B have symptoms similar to influenza. Symptoms may include:

* Tiredness, lack of energy
* Loss of appetite and weight
* Fever
* Yellowish skin or eyes (jaundice)
* Muscle or joint pain
* Stomach pain
* Nausea, vomiting
* Diarrhea
* Dark urine
* Stools (bowel movements)-colored
* Liver swollen and tender to the touch (the health care provider is detected during the examination)

How is Hepatitis B diagnosed?

The health care provider can diagnose hepatitis B by a blood test.

Is there a cure for Hepatitis B?

No, there is no cure for hepatitis B. But most people recover with no symptoms after 6 months. Treatment consists of getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol. The health care provider checks your liver is functioning normally by blood tests.

Some people carry the virus without symptoms and can pass it to others. Hepatitis B can also cause long-lasting symptoms and permanent liver disease including liver cancer.

How I can prevent transmission of Hepatitis B to others?

If you are infected, do not have sex or intimate contact with anyone (eg kissing) until your health care provider approves. Do not share personal items such as razors and toothbrushes. You can have hepatitis B without knowing it and pass it to others. Be sure to tell your teammates (as) sexual relationships, past and present, who have hepatitis B, because you may have infected. Encourage them to go to your doctor as soon as possible, get tested, and to consult the possibility of gamma globulin and vaccine to protect against hepatitis B. Once your health care provider says you have sex again, be sure to use latex condoms (or polyurethane for those allergic to latex) having oral sex, anal or vaginal sex.

How I can I avoid getting Hepatitis B?

Your best protection against hepatitis B is a vaccine. Is given in 3 separate shots. You have to receive three doses for the vaccine to give you maximum protection. You can lower your risk of contracting hepatitis B by not having sex or, if you’re using a latex condom. If you find that your partner (a) you have hepatitis B, ask your health care provider if you need gamma globulin and / or the vaccine.

You can also reduce your risk of contracting hepatitis B by avoiding the following:

* Sharing needles or syringes
* Share instruments used for piercing ears to get earrings, tattoos and hair removal
* Sharing toothbrushes or razors

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