What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. The inflammation of the liver may be accompanied by jaundice. You can become infected with the virus if it comes into contact with your blood, damaged skin or mucous membranes.
Most people who are infected with the virus are cured on their own. The body's immune system renders the virus harmless. A small percentage of infected people does not create enough antibodies against the virus. Over time, symptoms usually disappear, but the virus remains present in the blood. These chronic hepatitis B carriers remain contagious.
Patients with chronic hepatitis B can be treated with medicines. Unfortunately, these medicines have many unpleasant side-effects, and the results of treatment are often less than optimal.