• A lot is known about the hepatitis B virus. However, many of the information known is either untrue or outdated. Below are genuine facts about HBV:
  • It is one of the viruses responsible for viral hepatitis.
  • It is contracted mainly through bodily fluids such as blood and genital secretions.
  • About 400 million people worldwide have a lifelong infection from the hepatitis B virus.
  • The infection often progresses to liver cancer.
  • It is an incurable disease, meaning that it remains with a person as long as he or she lives.
  • Up to 90% of children infected in their mothers' wombs by the virus develop chronic diseases from the infection.
  • There is a vaccine for hepatitis B virus although many countries of the world are yet to access it.
  • An infected person’s liver can get injured as a result of the attack on the hepatitis B virus by the body’s immune system. A weak immune reaction by the body’s “immune fighters” can result in chronic hepatitis.
  • Persons infected with both hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus are most likely to suffer from liver cancer.
  • Apart from liver cancer, complications arising from hepatitis B virus infection include kidney diseases in infected children and the inflammation of blood vessels that supply vital organs of the body with blood.
  • Sexual intercourse, needlestick injury, sharing of needles and other body piercing equipment, blood transfusion, mother-to-child transmission, and organ transplantation are ways through which one can get infected.
  • Every year, about 60,000 new cases of hepatitis B virus infection are reported in the United States.
  • Not less than 5,000 persons die from hepatitis B virus infection every year in the United States.
  • More grown-ups are infected with hepatitis B virus than children.
  • Persons who have multiple sexual partners are at a high risk of contracting the hepatitis B virus.
  • Blacks in the United States are highly susceptible to the virus.
  • Those who acquire the virus at a younger age tend to have the virus for a long time in their body systems.
  • 1 million persons all over the world die every year as a result of hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Infected alcoholics are prone to developing cancer of the liver.
  • There is a high possibility that one whose father or mother is infected with the virus is also infected.
  • One of the preventative measures against HBV is vaccination; it is the best of all.
  • A newly infected person may show symptoms of the infection between 1-6 months of exposure to the virus.
  • Many infected persons do not present with symptoms of the infection.
  • When damage done to the liver as a result of HBV infection progresses, symptoms such as an inability to sleep, mental disorientation, gastrointestinal bleeding, and fluid retention in the organs will be noticed in a patient.
  • At the onset of the infection, persons who are symptomatically infected will have symptoms that include fever, enlarged liver, jaundice, and a swollen spleen.
  • The use of condoms during sexual intercourse can limit the risk of getting infected with the disease.
  • Liver enzyme tests and liver function tests can detect the presence of hepatitis B virus disease.
  • The use of rapid test kits is recommended for persons exposed to an increased risk of contracting HBV. Those include:
    1. teenagers who are sexually active,
    2. sexually active young adults,
    3. persons with multiple sexual partners,
    4. persons who are in new sexual relationships,
    5. people who inject drugs,
    6. HIV positive persons,
    7. healthcare workers,
    8. pregnant women,
    9. men who have sex with men,
    10. alcoholics,
    11. persons who are yet to receive HBV vaccination,
    12. those who have a family history of hepatitis B virus infection and liver cancer,
    13. persons whose country of origin has a prevalence rate of the infection standing at 2% or greater.
  • There is no longer a “healthy carrier” of hepatitis B virus since a person positive to the virus is at a high risk of developing liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
  • Treatment for HBV infection is aimed toward preventing the disease from progressing to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.
  • More men are at a risk of developing liver cirrhosis and liver cancer than women.
  • HBV positive persons are expected to be sexually abstinent (including from oral sex). They, also, should limit their alcohol intake.
  • Infected persons should be wary of getting overweight.
  • Those who are yet to develop liver cirrhosis from hepatitis B virus infection should not be placed on any special diet. They should eat what they have been eating before the infection.
  • Persons with liver cirrhosis are advised to limit their sodium intake to 1.5 grams daily and, instead, increase their white meat consumption.
  • Antiviral drugs are the drugs of choice for the treatment of hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Liver transplantation is recommended for persons whose livers have failed without recovery.
  • Infected mothers can breastfeed their babies without fear of passing the virus to them.
  • Babies born to infected mothers are given hepatitis B immunoglobulin and hepatitis B vaccine at the point of delivery before being given the recommended HBV vaccination for all babies.
  • HBV rapid test kits can detect the virus and present accurate results in a few minutes.
  • Do not wait to experience severe liver problems, get yourself tested for hepatitis B today!
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Being Familiar With Hepatitis