Have you been exposed to hepatitis B? Get tested to find out
Hepatitis refers to inflammation and damage to the liver. The most common causes of hepatitis are three viruses known as hepatitis A, B, and C. The hepatitis B virus is a major global health problem that can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) disease, which can develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer.
In regions of the world with the highest rates of hepatitis B, perinatal transmission (mother to child at birth) is the most common way that the virus is spread. Hepatitis B virus can also spread through needle stick injury, tattooing, piercing, sharing drug needles and syringes, and other exposures to infected blood, saliva, vaginal, and seminal fluids. Sexual transmission can occur, with more common occurrences in men who have sex with men, heterosexuals with multiple sex partners, and sex workers (and their clients).
Why consider this test?
The CDC recommends hepatitis B testing for:
- Injectable drug users
- Blood and tissue donors
- Dialysis patients
- Health care personnel who may be exposed to contaminated blood
- Children born to hepatitis B-positive mothers
- Men who have sex with men
- Individuals requiring immunosuppressive therapy
- Pregnant women
- Individuals born in countries of high hepatitis B prevalence