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Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are individual diseases each affecting the liver. Causes include, but are not limited to, drugs and medications, unprotected sex, and transmission during birth. If you believe you have been exposed to viral hepatitis contact your physician immediately. RSC Health offers products for your hepatitis testing needs.
Category: Acute - Curable
Chronic - Treatable
Lab Test: Blood Test
Hepatitis B Facts
Description: Hepatitis B is an infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This infection has two possible phases; 1) acute and 2) chronic.
About two-thirds of people with chronic HBV infection are chronic carriers. These people do not develop symptoms, even though they harbor the virus and can transmit it to other people. The remaining one third develop "active" hepatitis, a disease of the liver that can be very serious.
The liver is an important organ that filters toxins out of the blood, stores energy for later use, helps with digestion, and makes substances that fight infections and control bleeding.
The liver has an incredible ability to heal itself, but long-term inflammation caused by HBV can result in permanent damage.
Scarring of the liver is called cirrhosis, a condition traditionally associated with alcoholism but one that is also caused by chronic active hepatitis B infection. When this occurs, the liver can no longer carry out its normal functions and may fail completely. The only treatment for liver failure is liver transplant.
Chronic hepatitis B also can lead to a type of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Any of these conditions can be fatal.
Stats: About 15% to 25% percent of people with chronic hepatitis B die of liver disease
Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world.
Exposure: The hepatitis B virus is known as a blood-borne virus because it is transmitted from one person to another via blood or fluids contaminated with blood. Another important route of transmission is from an infected mother to a newborn child, which occurs during or shortly after birth.
Direct contract with blood may occur through the use of dirty needles during illicit drug use, inadvertent needle sticks experienced by healthcare workers, or contact with blood through other means. Semen, which contain small amounts of blood, and saliva that is contaminated with blood also carry the virus.
The virus may be transmitted when these fluids come in contact with broken skin or a mucous membrane (in the mouth, genital organs, or rectum) of an uninfected person
Incubation: 30 to 120 days
- Hepatitis B is an infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
- This infection has two possible phases; 1) acute and 2) chronic.
- Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world.
- About 15% to 25% percent of people with chronic hepatitis B die of liver disease
- The hepatitis B virus is transmitted via blood or fluids contaminated with blood, including semen.
- The virus may be transmitted when these fluids come in contact with broken skin or a mucous membrane (in the mouth, genital organs, or rectum) of an uninfected person
- Symptoms develop within 30-180 days of exposure to the virus
- Half of all people infected with the hepatitis B virus have no symptoms.
Hepatitis B Symptoms
Symptoms develop within 30-180 days of exposure to the virus. The symptoms are often compared to flu. Most people think they have flu and never think about having HBV infection.
- Appetite loss
- Feeling tired (fatigue)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itching all over the body
- Pain over the liver (on the right side of the abdomen, under the lower rib cage)
- Jaundice - A condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow in color
- Urine becomes dark in color (like cola or tea).
- Stools are pale in color (grayish or clay colored)