Hepatitis B is caused by a virus. The virus causes swelling and irritation in the liver and makes it difficult for the liver to function normally.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread by semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, blood, or body fluids from an infected person. The virus can pass from these fluids to your body through an open cut in your skin.
A woman with hepatitis can also pass HBV to her baby during childbirth.
Factors that may increase your chances of hepatitis B:
Illicit drug injection use, especially when sharing needles
Unprotected sexual contact, especially with multiple partners
Sharing a residence and/or personal items with someone who has HBV
Acute infection may not need any treatment since it usually goes away on its own.
Chronic hepatitis B may be treated with a combination of different antiviral medications. All medications do not work the same in all people. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Your doctor may also ask that you:
Avoid certain medications, dietary supplements, and herbs
Contact recent sexual partners so they can be tested and/or treated
There is a
for hepatitis B that is available for adults. This vaccine is usually given as a series of 3 injections. In addition, the vaccine is routinely given to newborns. Children and teens who were not vaccinated as babies can still receive the shots.
Other prevention strategies include:
or limit the number of sexual partners.
Do not inject drugs. If you use IV drugs, get treatment to help you
stop. Never share needles or syringes.
Do not share personal items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
Make sure a tattoo artist or piercer properly sterilizes the equipment.
Wear gloves when touching or cleaning up body fluids on personal items.
Cover open cuts or wounds.
If you are pregnant, have a blood test for hepatitis B. Infants born to mothers with hepatitis B should be treated within 12 hours after birth.
Go to regular check ups and get tested for hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as advised.
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. January 25, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2018.
Hepatitis B. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: https://www.liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/hepatitis-b. Accessed February 16, 2018.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Updated February 6 2018. Accessed February 16, 2018
Know hepatitis B. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/knowhepatitisb. Updated September 29, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2018.
10/8/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115624/Hepatitis-B-virus-HBV-infection: British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) recommendations on testing for sexually transmitted infections in men who have sex with men. Available at: http://www.bashh.org/documents/BASHH%20Recommendations%20for%20testing%20for%20STIs%20in%20MSM%20-%20FINAL.pdf. Updated 2014.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.