Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B Virus is a virus that causes damage to liver. Chronic hepatitis B can develop into a serious disease resulting cirrhosis and cancer. It is spread through contact with blood, semen or other body fluids of a person infected. People with HBV may or may not have symptoms. Common symptoms include yellow skin (jaundice)/yellow eyes, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and stomachache.

Transmission

  • • Mother to baby at birth
  • • Contact with blood, semen or other of body fluids of a person infected
  • • Sharing needles, syringes or other drug-injection equipment
  • • Condomless sexual practices

Treatment

Acute infection can be resolved without any treatment, while chronic HBV can be treated with antiviral medicines.

Prevention

  • • Use condom when having sex. Lubricant is recommended for anal sex.
  • • Avoid sharing needles, syringes or other drug-injection equipment with others
  • • Vaccination

Screening/Testing

If you are not vaccinated, HBsAg testing is recommended every 12 months. If you plan to get the vaccine, HBsAg and anti-HBs are recommended before receiving the vaccine.

  • • HBsAg is an antigen test. A positive result is indicative of present infection with HBV.
  • • Anti-HBs is an antibody test. A positive result indicates past exposure to HBV either naturally or due to vaccination. Persons with positive anti-HBs will not need the vaccine.
  • • Anti-HBc is an antibody test offered in some places and indicates previous or ongoing natural infection with HBV in an undefined time frame. It is usually tested together with HBsAg and anti-HBs.

Vaccination

  • Both HBsAg and anti-HBs should be tested prior to vaccination.
  • • Vaccination schedule is 3 injections at month 0, 1 and 6.
  • • In case you miss or delay an appointment, the vaccination can be continued without having to restart the previous doses. However, the first injection should be separated from the second by at least 4 weeks, the second to the last should be separated by at least 8 weeks, and the first to the last should be separated by at least 16 weeks. Anti-HBs testing can be done 1-2 months after the complete course to ensure immunity level.
  • • Safe for people living with HIV.
  • Safe for minor colds or fevers.
  • Vaccination dose 1,2, and, 3 may be from different brands.

Immune from the vaccine lasts up to 30 years.

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