Donate to Hepatitis B Research, Patient Care and Education
Hepatitis B, an infection that damages the liver, affects more than two billion people worldwide. One in three people will contract hepatitis B within their lifetime, and those affected by the disease may display a wide range of symptoms that fluctuate between mild and severe throughout their lives. While a cure for hepatitis B has yet to be established, the support of generous donations to Northwestern Memorial Foundation is helping scientists and physicians at Northwestern Medicine to advance research studies and clinical trials aimed at developing a cure for this very prevalent, challenging illness.
In the United States, the primary cause for the significant number of hepatitis B cases is unprotected sex with a person who carries the hepatitis B infection. Specialists have identified two major forms of hepatitis B. Acute hepatitis B may last up to six months, while chronic hepatitis B is a long-term illness that may severely damage a person’s liver. Both acute and chronic hepatitis B are spread through infected fluids, such as blood, saliva, vaginal secretions and semen.
The key risk factors for contracting hepatitis B include:
- Having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners
- Exposure to blood, bodily fluids and needles
- Working or living in a nursing facility or a prison
- Use of dialysis for kidney disease
- Engaging in sex with an individual infected with hepatitis B
- Taking immunosuppressive medications
- Using of IV drugs
In addition identifying these risk factors, specialists at Northwestern Medicine have determined that certain preventive measures can help to protect people from contracting hepatitis B. For example, individuals should commit to receiving a three-part vaccine prior to the age of 18, using a condom during intercourse, seeking out trusted sources for tattoos and body piercings, avoiding the use of shared needles and drug supplies, and avoiding sharing toothbrushes and razors or touching bodily fluids without protective gloves.
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of a hepatitis B infection:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Headaches, full body aches and upper-right abdominal pain
- Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
- Unusual colors of stools and dark urine
- Symptoms of jaundice, as well as easy bleeding and bruising
Hepatitis B Research & Care Donation
Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help to ensure that, at Northwestern Medicine, people at risk of developing hepatitis B, as well as patients diagnosed with the disease, will continue to receive the very finest, most comprehensive care, characterized by education and support, information about prevention, the most advanced diagnostic techniques and the leading-edge treatment approaches. Through your generosity, you will make a difference in many lives.