About Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can cause both acute and chronic disease. For people who are chronically infected, many have no symptoms yet their liver is still being silently damaged which can develop into serious liver disease such as liver cancer

Most people who have chronic hepatitis B are completely unaware they have it. The first step is knowing.
About Hep B:
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How Hep B is Transmitted

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through infected blood in the following ways:

  • From a mother to a child at the time of birth (most common for APIs)

  • Contact with infected blood

  • Unprotected sex

Among the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) community, transmission of HBV frequently occurs during the birth process when the virus is passed on to the baby from a mother who is often unaware that she is infected. If symptoms do appear they often are exhibited at the end stages of disease when treatment options are limited or ineffective. Acute infection most often occurs through sexual contact with an infected individual or a form of blood exposure such as needle sharing.

Perinatal transmission is the most common mode of infection. As a result, prevention of perinatal transmission is of utmost importance in the Asian community. Since HBV is very efficiently transmitted by unprotected sex, all API adults who are sexually active should be vaccinated to prevent infection. 

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Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Most APIs are infected at birth or early childhood, when symptoms may never develop. Thus the disease can progress undetected. If symptoms do appear, they often appear too late, when the disease has become fatal and when treatment options are limited or ineffective. Only 30% of those with acute infections develop symptoms. When symptoms of hepatitis B infection do develop, they include: 

• Jaundice
• Fatigue
• Abdominal pain
• Loss of appetite 

For those who are infected as newborns, there is a 90% chance of becoming a chronic carrier. For those infected during childhood, there is a 30%-50% chance. Most Asians are exposed to the disease either during the perinatal period or during childhood. There is a 8-15% prevalence rate of the number of chronic carriers within the Asian community.

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If you think you or a loved one is at risk, find a low-cost testing site today.

The ABC's of Hepatitis

"Hepatitis" refers to any disease that results in inflammation of the liver, regardless of how that disease is contracted. 


Acute or chronic:

Fecal-oral route 
When an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the feces of an individual infected with hepatitis A

Self-resolving with no lasting liver damage. After one infection, your body develops antibodies that prevents re-infection.

Hepatitis A vaccine


Acute or chronic:
Can be both acute and chronic


Through contaminated blood and sexual fluids

No cure


Hepatitis B vaccine



Acute or chronic:
Can be both acute and chronic. Infection becomes chronic in more than 50% of cases regardless of when you were infected.


Through contaminated blood


Can be cured through a series of treatments


No effective vaccine is available at this time

Hepatitis cannot be transmitted through coughing or sneezing.


For more information on the different types of hepatitis please visit the CDC website.


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Phone: (415) 554-2638



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