About half of all people infected with HBV don’t show signs or symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms usually do so within six weeks to six months of infection, and they might experience fatigue, hives, fever, abdominal pain or tenderness, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. Later symptoms might include jaundice, pale stools, dark urine, and intense abdominal pain.
At least 90 percent of those infected with HBV make full recoveries with an average 12-week recovery time. It is important to note, however, that an estimated 6 to 10 percent of adolescents and adults with HBV become chronic carriers – the virus enters a latent state in the host’s cells, which means that a carrier will remain contagious even after his or her own symptoms have disappeared. They are also at increased risk for liver cancer and cirrhosis, both of which can be fatal.
At Planned Parenthood we offer preventative care in the form of a Hepatitis A and B vaccine called TWINRIX, which is recommended for those 18 and over. Contact your local health center to find out more and schedule an appointment today. You can get more information about hepatitis B at Planned Parenthood’s website, the CDC’s website, or the Hepatitis B Foundation.
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