How Do You Get Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) . HBV is transmitted through direct exposure to the virus which may include contacts such as:

- Infected blood, semen, or other body fluids
- Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person
- Sharing contaminated needles and syringes
- Accidental needle sticks, commonly reported in healthcare workers
- Infected mother to child during childbirth
- Homosexuality in men
- Transfusion of infected blood or blood products
- Transplantation of infected organs

The symptoms of Hepatitis B include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice .

If untreated for a prolonged period it may lead to liver failure, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, diseases of the kidneys, inflammation or swelling of blood vessels and anemia .

To check for infection or other causes of the symptoms, tests are performed to detect the presence of Hepatitis B antigens and antibodies such as HBsAg, hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb), and hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb). The presence of HBsAg indicates that the person is infectious; the presence of HBsAb may indicate recovery and immunity from HBV infection or successful immunization against HBV .

Chronic form of the infection is not curable but HBV is preventable by vaccination .