The Difference Between Hepatitis B and C
• While there is a vaccine that protects against hepatitis
B infection, there is no vaccine available for hepatitis C • Both viruses can be contracted though
blood-to-blood contact • Hepatitis B is more infectious than hepatitis C and can
also be spread through saliva, semen and vaginal fluid • In the case of hepatitis B, infection can occur through having unprotected sex with an infected person. Please note that this is much rarer in the case of hepatitis C • While unlikely, it is possible to contract hepatitis B through kissing. You cannot contract hepatitis C through kissing • Neither virus is easily spread through everyday contact. You cannot get infected with hepatitis B or C by shaking hands, coughing or sneezing, or by using the same toilet. There are different treatments for the two viruses. While treatment can control chronic hepatitis B, it can often cure hepatitis C • Even if treatment is not an option for you, you can do something about your disease. A healthy lifestyle is important. Alcohol, smoking, eating fatty foods, being overweight or extreme dieting (eating no food at all) may worsen your liver disease. Therefore, try to avoid all alcohol, stop smoking, eat a low fat diet with enough fruit and vegetables, and reduce your weight if necessary
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that hepatitis B is one of the major diseases affecting mankind today. Hepatitis B is one of the most common viral infections in the world and the WHO estimates that two billion people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus and approximately 350 million people are living with chronic (lifelong) infections. 500,000 – 700,000 people die every year from hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus is highly infectious and about 50-100 times more infectious than HIV. In nine out of ten adults, acute hepatitis B infection will go away on its own in the first six months. However, if the virus becomes chronic, it may cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer after up to 40 years, but in some cases as little as five years after diagnosis.