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Is There a Cure for Hepatitis B?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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There is no cure for hepatitis B, though there are people who get the disease, recover from it, and then go on to live healthy lives. The flipside is the disease can predispose people toward developing problems with the liver, including liver cancer. Doctors might quibble with the statement that hepatitis B, which is usually considered a sexually transmitted disease since it is most commonly transmitted in this manner, has no cure. First, many people fight the virus off effectively with a healthy immune system, and second, there are drugs that can treat the illness if it becomes chronic. Moreover, while there isn’t a cure, there are many reliable methods of prevention.

In the best-case scenario, a person who gets hepatitis B recovers fully from it in about six months and ceases to be contagious with it. The most common treatments for people with initial infection, provided they’re not showing signs of liver damage, are to get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, and gradually recover from the initial infection. People will need continued monitoring, but many people do recover without much intervention, though bearing the exhaustion and other symptoms can be difficult at first.

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Some people are not so lucky and will develop chronic forms of the illness, and it is mostly in these scenarios that doctors wish they had a cure for hepatitis B. There are useful medicines of many types, which while not a cure for hepatitis B, may help minimize any damage to the liver or risk of cancer. Even with treatment, people with ongoing versions of the condition remain contagious, and special caution must be taken to avoid transmitting the virus to others. A pregnant woman can pass it to a newborn, it can be spread by shared razors or needles, and during unprotected sex.

For years there has been a reliable vaccination for the virus which might be called a preemptive or prophylactic cure for hepatitis B. This vaccination is now often part of regular vaccination schedules for children, and it might be advised for adults who are unvaccinated. Vaccination is one of the best preventions of the illness possible.

Additional preventative steps are important to avoid contagion. People should always have safer intercourse with a barrier method of birth control like the male or female condom. Any sharing of items that pass blood cells of one person to another, such as razors or needles is also inadvisable, since the disease may be passed in this manner. It’s possible that hepatitis B may be cured prophylactically in newborns by giving the vaccination too.

Clearly there is need for a permanent cure for hepatitis B. At present, people still have ways to protect themselves from getting the virus, and these involve getting vaccinated, using good sense, and especially employing safer sex practices. Medical research continues to work in this critical area, so that one day, they may cure this potentially challenging illness.

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