Hepatitis B Transmission and Risk Factors
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver disease triggered by a virus with the same name. Hepatitis B can be both acute and chronic. The disease can be treated based on the severity of its infection – short-term treatment or long-term medication. Hepatitis B is usually associated with liver cancer and cirrhosis. Additionally, an individual may show different symptoms of the disease. Others, however, can remain asymptomatic.
Hepatitis B Transmission
There are various ways that Hepatitis B is transmitted. Commonly, the disease is spread by bodily fluids, such as blood, secretions, and sexual fluids. The disease can never be transmitted through kissing, sharing utensils dishes, or coughing. You can disregard these myths.
Here is a list of agents that transmit Hepatitis B:
Any sexual contact or activity
Once an infected individual engages in sexual intercourse without precaution, the non-infected partner may come in contact with the Hepatitis B virus. In this case, the genital/sexual fluid, such as semen, will be the agent. That is why it is essential to protect yourself before an impulsive sexual engagement.
Needles and Syringes
Infected blood is the second most popular agent for HBV transmission. This is especially true if we share the needle or syringe used by different individuals, of whom one has the Hepatitis B virus. This practice is common in rave parties, house parties, and even correctional homes. The best prevention is to disengage yourself from these activities and stay away from drug abuse.
Sharing needles contaminated with the HBV virus during tattooing also transmits the virus. Use sterilized and new needles during the procedure, go to a credible tattoo parlor, and be mindful of the precautionary methods the parlor follows before piercing the needle into your skin.
There are many cases where HBV is transferred from an infected mother to the newborn child during pregnancy and labor. Thankfully, vaccination is available for infants to protect them from the condition. Additionally, if you are pregnant and suspect having the disease, consult with your physician for urgent treatment.
Other sources of transmission
Sharing personal items, such as manicure and pedicure tools, toothbrushes, and even razors can spread the disease. This is because small amount of infected blood may be present in these personal care tools when they are not cleaned regularly. To avoid this infection, we must clean and sterilize our personal care tools after every use, and avoid sharing them with others.
Why Get Tested?
Being aware of your health conditions always motivates you to take the right navigation path. They will not only take care of their condition, but also follow all measures to prevent its transmission. To get tested, you will have to visit a clinic or the hospital and obtain a request for testing from your healthcare professional. It will mostly involve a blood test. Based on your results, the doctors will recommend an appropriate treatment.
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