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STD 12 continued...
Only half of people who get hepatitis B infection have symptoms. On the other hand,
there may other symptoms besides the ones you mention. Some people get rashes
or joint pain in the early stages of infection. Some get
jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. About one in 100 people get sudden liver failure and may suddenly collapse with fatigue.
Symptoms may first appear six weeks to six months after infection.
Having multiple sex partners is a major risk factor for hepatitis B
infection. Also at risk are men who have sex with men, injection drug users and
their sex partners, and household contacts of people with chronic
The good news is that the vast majority of adults who become infected with
hepatitis B will clear the infection on their own. But 2% to 6% of infected
adults get chronic, lifelong infection. That's why it's important to see a
doctor if you're at risk for hepatitis B infection.
The bad news is there is no specific treatment. Antiviral medications can
keep the virus at bay and may even put hepatitis B liver disease into remission.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine. It's now routine for infants; since 1996
more than 80% of U.S. infants have been getting the vaccine. If your sexual
behavior puts you at risk of hepatitis B infection, you should get