HEPATITIS B VIRUS (HBV)
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PUNJABI (PA, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ):http://hepcbc.ca/hbv-basics_pa/
HINDI (HI, हिंदी): http://hepcbc.ca/hbv-basics_hi/
Chinese Traditional (CHT, 繁体中文 ): http://hepcbc.ca/hbv-basics_cht/
Chinese Simplified (CHS, 简体中文): http://hepcbc.ca/hbv-basics_chs/
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which is far more infectious than HIV.
- VACCINE for hepatitis B is available (3 doses over 6 months; good for 25 years to life – ask your medical service provider if you are protected).
- About 95% of adults infected with hepatitis B virus recover within 6 months (Acute Hepatitis B) and as a result develop lifelong protection. The remaining 5% become chronically infected with Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB).
- Excellent medications are now available to treat chronic hepatitis B which, though NOT A CURE, help protect the liver from serious damage, and may help prevent the carrier from infecting others.
Transmission Mode of Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis B spreads through contact with BLOOD & BODILY FLUIDS including semen, vaginal, and anal fluids.
Routes of Entry of Hepatitis B Virus
- Injection drug use (past and/or present) and intranasal drug use (snorting) when sharing contaminated drug-use equipment (e.g. needles, straws, pipes, spoons, cookers).
- High risk sexual activities (e.g.- unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners – men who have sex with men [MSM] are at particular risk). But, unlike with hepatitis C, semen, vaginal, and anal fluids can easily transmit hepatitis B.
- Tattooing, body piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture using unsterile equipment/techniques.
- Exposure in the workplace by needle prick or with sharp equipment that has infected blood on it.
- Getting a blood transfusion or organ transplant that was not screened for hepatitis B. In Canada, donated blood and blood products have been screened for hepatitis B since 1970.
- Sharing personal care articles such as razors, scissors, nail clippers, or a toothbrush with an infected person. An invisible amount of blood can transmit hepatitis C through a tiny nick in the skin.
- During pregnancy or childbirth from a mother with hepatitis B.
HBV is NOT spread by
- Casual contact such as hugging, kissing or shaking hands, or by sharing food or beverages.
- Being around someone who is sneezing or coughing.
- Breastfeeding, unless the nipples are cracked and bleeding.
- Majority of people remain asymptomatic until their liver has already been damaged. Symptoms can take 2 to 6 months to appear and only 50% of people develop symptoms. During this entire time (with or without symptoms) they can spread the infection to others.
- Others have some or all of the following symptoms: Fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, pale or bloody stools, stomach pain, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes).
Potential Complications of Chronic Hepatitis B
- Cirrhosis of liver, liver failure, liver cancer (HCC), premature death.
Prevention and Testing
- Early diagnosis is critical because –
- The sooner the treatment is started, the better the chance to prevent damage from the virus.
- Diagnosis can prevent individuals from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
- Talk to your healthcare provider TODAY about testing for hepatitis B or getting the VACCINE.
More about Treatment
We can take comfort that
- As stated previously, excellent medications are now available to treat chronic hepatitis B which, though NOT A CURE, help protect the liver from serious damage, and may help prevent the carrier from infecting others.
- Much research is being done in fighting chronic hepatitis B. New medications are definitely in the pipeline, though (to our most current knowledge) not in the immediate future. Ask your medical service provider to keep you informed about any new treatments for which you may become eligible.
HBV Pamphlet – ENGLISH
ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE PAMPHLETS about Hepatitis B
(Punjabi, Hindi, Chinese Traditional & Chinese Simplified):
MORE EXCELLENT RESOURCES:
Canadian Liver Foundation Hepatitis B FAQs:
Government of Canada – Hepatitis B Facts
Hepatitis B Status and Immigration to Canada – Message Board