Family Tree Clinic

STIS and HIV

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread by infected blood and other bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions, and open sores.

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

In most cases, hepatitis B causes limited infection. Usually people manage to fight off the infection successfully within a few months, developing an immunity that lasts a lifetime (this means you won’t get the infection again). Blood tests show evidence of this immunity, but no signs of active infection.

However, some people don’t get rid of the infection. If you are infected with hepatitis B for more than six months, you are considered a carrier, even if you have no symptoms. This means that you can transmit the disease to others by having unprotected sex, exposing blood or open sores to another person, or sharing needles or syringes.

Treatment

If you get to a doctor within two weeks after exposure to hepatitis B, you’ll receive immediate vaccination and a shot of hepatitis immune globulin to boost the immune system to fight off the infection.

Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent HBV infection.

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