Infectious Disease

Hepatitis B

Visit the blogs of families who have adopted children with Hepatitis B:

Finally a Family of Five
A Heartful
Sophie and Sage


Commonly called “serum hepatitis,” hepatitis B ranges from mild to severe. Some people who are infected by HBV develop no symptoms and are totally unaware of the fact, but they may carry HBV in their blood and pass the infection on to others. In its chronic form, HBV infection may destroy the liver through a scarring process, called cirrhosis, or it may lead to cancer of the liver. When a person is infected by HBV, the virus enters the bloodstream and body fluids, and is able to pass through tiny breaks in the skin, mouth, or the male or female genital area. There are various ways of becoming infected:

• During birth, a mother with hepatitis B may pass HBV on to her infant.

• Contact with infected blood is a common means of transmitting hepatitis B. One way this may happen is by being stuck with an infected needle. Both health care workers and those who inject drugs into their veins are at risk of becoming infected in this manner.

• Having sex with a person infected by HBV is an important risk factor.

Although there are many ways of passing on HBV, the virus actually is not very easily transmitted. There is no need to worry that casual contact, such as shaking hands, will expose one to hepatitis B. There is no reason not to share a workplace or even a restroom with an infected person. More than 300 million persons throughout the world are infected by HBV. While most who become chronic carriers of the virus live in Asia and Africa, there are no fewer than 1.5 million carriers in the United States.

Due to the fact that carriers represent a constant threat of transmitting the infection, the risk of hepatitis B is always highest where there are many carriers. Such areas are said to be endemic for hepatitis B. When infants or young children who live in an endemic area are infected, their chance of becoming a chronic hepatitis B carrier is at least 90%. This is probably because their bodies are not able to make the substances (antibodies) that destroy the virus. In contrast, no more than 5% of infected teenagers and adults develop chronic infection.


Medical Dictionary

Rainbow Kids: Our Son with Hep B
Hepatitis B Foundation
Yahoo! Group – HBV Adoption
Stanford Asian Liver Center
PKids (Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases)
Adopting a Special Needs Child with Hep B
Another Life (video part 1)
Another Life (video part 2)
Another Life (video part 3)


Read blog posts about Hepatitis B on No Hands But Ours.


Visit the blogs of families who have adopted children with HIV:

There’s No Place Like Home
Our Journey to Ellie and Sam
The Boulton Family


HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s CD4 cells (which is part of the immune system). HIV lowers the number of CD4 cells, which can impair the body’s immune system. There are medications to keep the HIV virus in check, and people with HIV now have normal lives and lifespans. Children get HIV through birth or breastfeeding. About 3.2 million kids worldwide are HIV positive.

HIV is NOT present in urine, feces, mucous, saliva, sweat, tears, or vomit unless there is blood present. HIV is ONLY spread through sex with a partner who has HIV and a high viral load, sharing needles, and through childbirth or breastfeeding. There has never been a documented case of accidental transmission in a normal household setting.

Treatment for HIV includes medications once or twice a day (the timing and not missing doses is very important), and blood work several times per year. Kids with HIV lead very normal lives. A parent does not have to tell anyone about their kid being HIV positive, and many choose only to tell their child’s healthcare providers. There is no law or obligation to tell anyone except the child’s doctors and dentist.


Project Hopeful
Elim Kids


Read blog posts about HIV on No Hands But Ours.


Visit this blog to read about a family who has adopted a child with congenital syphilis:

Life is a Journey


Congenital syphilis is syphilis that is present in utero or at birth in babies born to a mother already with this condition. Untreated syphilis can adversely affect pregnancy, causing prematurity, stillbirths or miscarriage and can also adversely affect infants resulting in deformities, delays in development, or seizures along with many other problems such as rash, fever, hepatosplenomegaly (enlargement of liver and spleen), anemia, jaundice and snuffles (blood stained nasal discharge). These symptoms may vary widely from child to child. The vast majority of infants are tested and treated with penicillin at birth and no further issues are noted, however, if symptoms go unseen or untreated, they could develop latent syphilis as they get older and systems such as bones, teeth, eyes, ears and brain could be affected.

Syphilis is easily treated and commonly tested, so the amount of children developing latent syphilis and being severely affected is very small. This test is standard as part of lab work in the files of children in China and should show nonreactive titers after 6 months of treatment, although adoptive families would want to retest titers once they arrive home with their child. Although serious, once detected and if treated early, it can be completed cured with no lasting effects.


The Merck Manual
Orphan Doctor

Love Without Boundaries: What Is Congenital Syphilis?
Oxford Journals


Read blog posts about Syphilis on No Hands But Ours.


Visit these links to read stories of people living with Tuberculosis:

TB Personal Stories
TB Stories
Living with TB


Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes. Once rare in developed countries, tuberculosis infections began increasing in 1985, partly because of the emergence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens a person’s immune system so it can’t fight the TB germs. In the United States, because of stronger control programs, tuberculosis began to decrease again in 1993, but remains a concern. Many strains of tuberculosis resist the drugs most used to treat the disease. People with active tuberculosis must take several types of medications for many months to eradicate the infection and prevent development of antibiotic resistance.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air. This can happen when someone with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings. Although tuberculosis is contagious, it’s not easy to catch. You’re much more likely to get tuberculosis from someone you live with or work with than from a stranger. Most people with active TB who’ve had appropriate drug treatment for at least two weeks are no longer contagious.

Medications are the cornerstone of tuberculosis treatment. But treating TB takes much longer than treating other types of bacterial infections. With tuberculosis, you must take antibiotics for at least six to nine months. The exact drugs and length of treatment depend on your age, overall health, possible drug resistance, the form of TB (latent or active) and the infection’s location in the body. Recent research suggests that a shorter term of treatment — four months instead of nine — with combined medication may be effective in keeping latent TB from becoming active TB. With the shorter course of treatment, people are more likely to take all their medication and the risk of side effects is lessened. If you have latent tuberculosis, you may need to take just one type of TB drug. Active tuberculosis, particularly if it’s a drug-resistant strain, will require several drugs at once.

Information credit: Mayo Clinic


PKids Online
CDC TB Pamphlet
American Lung Association
TB in Children Fact Sheet
The Truth About TB
Positive PPD in the Internationally Adopted Child
Guangzhou Consulate TB Requirements


Read blog posts about TB on No Hands But Ours.

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