I have been asked severally, “Doc! is hepatitis B curable?” “Does it mean I will die if I am tested positive?”. These questions often come from people who are scared to death because of what they have probably heard or read about the condition. You may believe this fear will help people protect themselves against the infection but not only is this not true, it also prevents people from testing for the infection. The real fear is that if the infection is not diagnosed earlier, management may become more difficult later.
So why should I test for hepatitis B?
First of all, I think Hepatitis is the most misunderstood disease condition in Ghana here. There is also vaccination for the condition which can protect you for as long as 7 to 10 years. I am not being an optimist here but the condition is not as monstrous as it is painted and I think you need to know more than the ‘vaccinators’ want u to know!
Yes of course it is important to vaccinate against it but its mode of transmission and sequelae have been overstated… Hepatitis B is a condition that can be totally managed if discovered earlier.
You should know however that viral hepatitis is not only Hepatitis B even though it is the commonest. There is hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and now there is even arguments in the academic world as to whether hepatitis G causes diseases in man!
Hepatitis B is transmitted through sex, mother to child, cuts, sharing of needles and sharps and rarely saliva in very heavy infection.
Sweat, sharing of towels shaking and things like that does not transmit the disease.
After the age of 5 years, only 6%–10% of people exposed to the virus will get the disease. And even out of this only 5% goes to develop the chronic disease.
Hepatitis B is not spread through food,it is hepatic A which is very rare that may be spread through food.
Hepatitis B virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.
If you are diagnosed with this, seek treatment,you can be 100% managed to live a normal full life. There are scientific studies on-going to attain a radical cure. There are cases where chronically infected people later tested negative after some treatment rudiment but there is currently no standard known cure.
Else, check yourself and get vaccinated….
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, viral hepatitis is not the only causative for the condition. There are other causes worth knowing;
Alcohol abuse, excessive drug usage like paracetamol, tramadol (‘tramol’) autoimmune diseases and many more!
Take good care of your liver, avoid taking drugs for fun… You can ask question in the comments section.
check back later for the next health article “What to do when you test positive for hepatitis B“