Sexually Transmitted Diseases: What Is Hepatitis B?

What is Hepatitis B? Who does it effect, how is it spread, and how is it prevented?

What is Hepatitis B?

This disease is an inflammation of the liver (one of your body's vital organs).

What causes this disease?

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus called HBV. Although there are no known symptoms, this disease can result in a range of complications from mild illness to death due to liver failure.

How is the HBV virus spread?

The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread by exposure to infected body fluids (like HIV). These fluids are mainly blood, blood products, but can also be semen and vaginal fluids. Therefore it is important to remember that the HBV virus can be spread through sexual contact.



How can You Protect Yourself from the HBV Virus?

Avoid being infected, use precautions if you are a healthcare or other institutional worker. Never, ever have unprotected sexual contact. Never share personal hygiene items such as razors, toothbrushes, etc. Always check to make certain that your dentist uses the appropriate care and cleaning equipment for his / her medical and dental procedures, their carelessness is their responsibly, but your health is yours. This is true for tattoo artists, ear piercing technicians, and acupuncture professionals.

Used, or "ňúdirty' needles are also a leading cause in the transmission of this disease. If you, or someone you know, has a serious drug problem, and currently use needles, please seek professional help immediately, and get yourself tested for HBV. Early detection can save your life.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT HBV CAN NOT BE PASSED THROUGH CASUAL CONTACT, SUCH AS BREATHING, SHAKING OR HOLDING HANDS, OR HUGGING. THE DISEASE IS NOT TRANSMITTED BY SHARING PHONES, TOILETS, OR DRINKING FOUNTAINS.

What are common symptoms for the HBV virus?

tiredness

loss of appetite / or weight

mild fever

aching muscles and joints

rash

nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

change in sense of taste and smell

tenderness or pain in the upper abdomen

jaundice (yellowed skin or eyes)

dark-colored urine

light-colored feces

general flu like symptoms

If you experience these symptoms, please do not wait to be tested! Anyone with HBV can spread it to others, before or after the symptoms appear, or even if they never have symptoms. There is currently no cure for Hepatitis B (HBV), but with medical care, rest, and proper diet, most people recover completely.

Where can I get more information about Hepatitis B?

You can contact your doctor, state or local health departments, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 1-404-332-4555.

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