Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B ?
Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, liver failure and death. It is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver over time. In its earliest stages, Hepatitis is called Acute Hepatitis B. Later, it turns into Chronic Hepatitis B. There are approximately 1.25 million people living in the United States with the Chronic Hepatitis B virus infection according to the CDC. Each year, there are approximately 78,000 new cases of Hepatitis B.
What are Hepatitis B’s symptoms ?
You may not see the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B. When the symptoms do develop, it may feel like the flu. You could be hungry, tired, vomit, feel itchy or have stomach pain. If you have symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis B, they may be associated with inflammation of the liver, and this could lead to liver cancer.
How do you contract Hepatitis B ?
Contact with the sexual fluids or blood of an infected person spreads Hepatitis B. Most often, this occurs through sex (oral, vaginal or anal) or from sharing a needle. Others who are at a great risk are people like healthcare professionals who may come into contact with infected people’s blood, or others who share razor blades or toothbrushes with people who are infected. Remember that you cannot get infected from a mosquito bite. There are no cases where Hepatitis B was ever spread through mosquitos.
How can I be tested for Hepatitis B ?
You can be screened for early signs of the infection with the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Confirmation by Neutralization test. This is a blood test. It is a simple test–only a quick draw of blood by our professional staff.
What does “confirmation by neutralization” mean? This means that the lab will run an immediate test on your blood sample to confirm the diagnosis if you have a positive or borderline initial result. There would be no extra charge for this additional test.
It will depend on your situation, but after your results are ready, we can put you in touch with a doctor on the phone who can advise you on the next steps after diagnosis, including possible treatment.
Does Hepatitis B have a cure ?
There are two forms of Hepatitis B: chronic and acute. Acute Hepatitis B can be treated with fluids and bed rest if it is caught early. This type of virus can eventually go away, but it may take several months. On the other hand, Chronic Hepatitis B develops over time, and it is not curable. There are, however, treatments that can prevent the virus from worsening.
What happens if I don’t get treatment for Hepatitis B ?
Remember that Hepatitis B can get worse if you have it and don’t know it. Sometimes, if left untreated, Hepatitis B can lead to liver failure and possibly death.
What can I do to prevent getting Hepatitis B ?
To prevent any form of STD, always use a condom when having sexual intercourse. Additionally, do not share razors, needles or toothbrushes with anyone infected. There is also a Hepatitis B vaccine. This is recommended for children and required to enter school. For adults, if you are at increased risk for Hepatitis B, you should definitely get vaccinated. Those who are at a greater risk for Hepatitis B are:
Men having sex with other men.
IV drug users.
Those who already have an STD.
People who work with blood including healthcare workers.
Those who are sexually active but not in exclusive relationships.
Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, liver failure and death. It is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver over time. In its earliest stages, Hepatitis is called Acute Haptitis B. Later, it turns into Chronic Hepatitis B. There are approximately 1.25 million people living in the United States with the Chronic Hepatitis B virus infection according to the CDC. Each year, there are approximately 78,000 new cases of Hepatitis B. What are Hepatitis B’s symptoms? You may not see the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B. When the symptoms do develop, it may feel like the flu. You could be hungry, tired, vomit, feel itchy or have stomach pain. If you have symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis B, they may be associated with inflammation of the liver, and this could lead to liver cancer. How do you contract Hepatitis B? Contact with the sexual fluids or blood of an infected person spreads Hepatitis B. Most often, this occurs through sex (oral, vaginal or anal) or from sharing a needle. Others who are at a great risk are people like healthcare professionals who may come into contact with infected people’s blood, or others who share razor blades or toothbrushes with people who are infected. Remember that you cannot get infected from a mosquito bite. There are no cases where Hepatitis B was ever spread through mosquitos. How can I be tested for Hepatitis B? You can be screened for early signs of the infection with the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Confirmation by Neutralization test. This is a blood test. It is a simple test–only a quick draw of blood by our professional staff. What does “confirmation by neutralization” mean? This means that the lab will run an immediate test on your blood sample to confirm the diagnosis if you have a positive or borderline initial result. There would be no extra charge for this additional test. It will depend on your situation, but after your results are ready, we can put you in touch with a doctor on the phone who can advise you on the next steps after diagnosis, including possible treatment. Does Hepatitis B have a cure? There are two forms of Hepatitis B: chronic and acute. Acute Hepatitis B can be treated with fluids and bed rest if it is caught early. This type of virus can eventually go away, but it may take several months. On the other hand, Chronic Hepatitis B develops over time, and it is not curable. There are, however, treatments that can prevent the virus from worsening. What happens if I don’t get treatment for Hepatitis B? Remember that Hepatitis B can get worse if you have it and don’t know it. Sometimes, if left untreated, Hepatitis B can lead to liver failure and possibly death. What can I do to prevent getting Hepatitis B? To prevent any form of STD, always use a condom when having sexual intercourse. Additionally, do not share razors, needles or toothbrushes with anyone infected. There is also a Hepatitis B vaccine. This is recommended for children and required to enter school. For adults, if you are at increased risk for Hepatitis B, you should definitely get vaccinated. Those who are at a greater risk for Hepatitis B are: Men having sex with other men. IV drug users. Those who already have an STD. People who work with blood including healthcare workers. Those who are sexually active but not in exclusive relationships.
How HBV is Treated
For acute HBV infections, treatment is supportive, but no medications are available. For chronic infections, there are several antiviral drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor to slow the virus’s ability to affect the liver. To determine if an acute HBV infection has progressed to a chronic infection, it’s important to be evaluated by a medical professional, who can also determine any apparent liver damage or hepatocellular carcinoma. In severe cases of chronic HBV where liver damage is extreme, a liver transplant may be a viable treatment option.
Hepatitis B Incubation Period
Incubation period refers to the period of time between when an individual is infected with HBV and when symptoms become noticeable. The incubation period for HBV ranges between 60-150 days after exposure to the virus.
Likelihood of Chronic HBV
Not all who are infected with acute HBV will be chronically infected. The risk of this happening varies by each individual, and also depends on the age of infection. Infection rates are highest among young children, with approximately 90% of infants remaining chronically infected, and 25%-50% of children between the ages of 1-5 years of age also remaining chronically infected. However, of all adults who contract acute HBV, 95% will recover completely before the disease progresses to a chronic infection.
Seriousness of HBV Infection
An estimated 2,000-4,000 deaths occur each year in the United States as a result of chronic HBV infection. The majority of those infected with HBV remain carriers, but don’t experience symptoms until cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease occurs. 25% of individuals chronically infected with HBV as a child, and 15% of individuals who become chronically infected as adults die prematurely as a result of complications from the HBV infection.
Hepatitis B Test is available as a single test. However, we also have customized test panels available that checks for Hepatitis B and many other STDs. This can be purchased and is a BETTER VALUE.
Hepatitis B Incubation Period
Incubation period refers to the period of time between when an individual is infected with HBV and when symptoms become noticeable. The incubation period for HBV ranges between 60-150 days after exposure to the virus.
Can Hepatitis B be cured ?
Hepatitis B is treatable and can be cured in most cases. If the Hepatitis B virus is caught early, acute (new) cases are treated with fluids and bed rest. It can go away on its own. In fact, 94%- 98% of people get better on their own when they acquire Hepatitis B as an adult. Also, they do not become chronic carriers.
However, a tiny amount of people, approximately 1%, will end up developing chronic Hepatitis B, which can result in serious liver damage.
Although Hepatitis B is not always curable, there are options for treatment that prevent the virus from getting worse. In the event that you test positive, one of our physicians will discuss your treatment options and help get you treatment through a specialist in your area.
How do I know if I should be tested for Hepatitis B ?
If you or your parents were born in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, China, and more), Africa, the Amazon Basin, the Middle East, or the Pacific Islands, you are at increased risk of contracting Hepatitis B if you are exposed. This is because vaccinations have not always been available in these regions and the virus can be passed from mother to child at birth.
Additionally, Hepatitis B testing is encouraged for individuals who are at high risk of coming into contact with the virus. This includes individuals that have a past history of injecting drugs, or have had a sexual encounter with a partner that is infected or is potentially infected. Also, testing is advised if you live with someone that is infected with Hepatitis B.
It is recommended that you consider Hepatitis B testing as a routine STD screening. This is especially true if you have engaged in unprotected sex with someone who has not made you aware of their STD status or someone you are concerned about.
How do I understand what the results ?
Hepatitis B tests will come back either positive or negative. Positive means that the test found the presence of Hepatitis B in the blood sample. Negative means there was no trace of the Hepatitis B virus in the blood sample.
In rare occasions, an individual will test positive for Hepatitis B, but will test negative when a confirmatory test is performed. If the confirmation test returns a negative result, you do not have Hepatitis B.
Do you use a blood sample or urine sample for this test ?
A blood test is required to perform the Hepatitis B test. After arriving at the lab, one small tube of blood will be drawn by the lab technician. There will be no uncomfortable swabbing and you will not need to get undressed.
Will I need to do anything special to prepare for this test ?
No, there are no special instructions prior to having the test performed. You will not need to fast. Simply come in to the office.

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