Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing needles/syringes, or from mother to child. Some people may experience an acute infection that can resolve on its own while others develop a long-term chronic infection. Typically the younger the person the more likely their chances are of developing a chronic infection. 90% of infected infants become chronically infected compared to only 2-6% of adults.
How do you get Hep B?
Hep B can be transmitted by blood and body fluids that may contain blood through:
- Sex with an infected partner
- Injection drug use
- Child birth to an Hepatitis B infected mother
- Contact with infected blood or open sores
- Stuck with contaminated needles
- Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes
What are the signs of Hep B?
People with a new acute Hep B infection can show symptoms that include:
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stool
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eye)
*Chronic infections do not have any symptoms. Most people who are infected do not know they have hepatitis B.
Is there treatment for Hep B?
Yes, treatment is available through antiretrovirals, also there is a vaccine to prevent the virus.
Where can I find out more?
The Center for Disease Control has created a general fact sheet for Hepatitis B. Click here to view.