Hepatitis B: Let's talk about it

Hepatitis B affects an average of 250 million people worldwide. This virus, classified by the WHO as a major health problem, causes approximately 887,000 deaths per year. Africa, Asia and South America are the continents most affected by this virus.

Hepatitis B and manifestations

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a type of viral hepatitis. It is a virus that attacks the cells of the liver, causing inflammation of this organ. The hepatitis B virus is found mainly in semen, blood and vaginal secretions. It can survive for about 5 to 7 days in the open air.

The symptoms of hepatitis B are similar to those of the flu. These include fever, headache, loss of appetite, jaundice, dark urine, pale stools, diarrhea ... Sometimes, in some people, none of these symptoms are manifested. But they are still contagious.

Modes of transmission

Hepatitis B is generally transmitted through 3 channels:

  • Breast milk
  • Blood-to-blood contact
  • Unprotected sex


To date, there is no medication for hepatitis. Some patients have an immune system with antibodies that can eliminate the virus.  For others, there are medications that do not cure the disease but rather treat it. These drugs will slow down the progression of the virus, thus slowing down its impact on the liver.  Examples include Lamivudine and Interferon. They are used primarily to control the development of the virus to prevent further damage to the liver. Sometimes, for more severe cases, the patient may need a liver transplant.

Methods of prevention

The main recommendation is to be vaccinated against hepatitis B. Usually, the vaccine is given to the patient at the same time as the hepatitis A vaccine. It is also important to practice safe sex until the health status of your partner is known.  Additional precautions are similar to those for HIV.