Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects nearly 73,000 new individualseach year. Approximately 1,250,000 people in the United States arecarriers of hepatitis B.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?
Approximately 30% of infected people will show no symptoms. Symptomsof hepatitis B include:
- Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Can having hepatitis B lead to other problems?
There is no cure for hepatitis B, which means that once you contractit, it is a life-long infection. Hepatitis B may lead to serious liverdisease. Approximately 5,000 people die each year due to liver failureand liver cancer.
How is hepatitis B transmitted?
Hepatitis B is transmitted by sexual activity. It may also be spreadfrom an infected mother to her baby during birth. There are primarilyfour different ways that hepatitis B may be transmitted:
- Sexual activity which includes anal or vaginal intercourse
- Mother to baby during birth
- Contact with infected blood
- I.V. drug use
How is hepatitis B diagnosed?
Hepatitis B may be diagnosed by your healthcare provider througha blood test.
What is the treatment for hepatitis B?
Currently there is no cure for hepatitis B. Medications are availableto help slow the virus and prevent liver damage.
Can hepatitis B be prevented?
There are several ways to prevent hepatitis B. The first is to refrainfrom sexual contact of any kind. The second is to be in a long-termmonogamous relationship such as marriage. The third is to avoid useof I.V. drugs.
There is a vaccination for hepatitis B; subsequently, one of thesimplest ways to avoid hepatitis B is to get vaccinated.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women. Faro, Sebastian, Ch.14.