Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus. 

It spreads through blood, semen, or other body fluids, including when someone:

  • Has sex with a person who has hepatitis B
  • Shares drug needles with a person who has hepatitis B
  • Shares a razor or toothbrush with a person who has hepatitis B
  • Touches the blood or open sores of a person who has hepatitis B

Acute Hep B is short-lived.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dark urine or clay-colored feces
  • Pain in the joints and stomach
  • Jaundice

Chronic hepatitis B is a lifelong illness that can lead to serious — and possibly deadly — liver problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, or liver failure.

You may be at risk for hepatitis B if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have sex or live with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Have sex with more than 1 partner
  • Have a sexually transmitted disease
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Use drugs with needles
  • Could come into contact with blood at work
  • Get hemodialysis treatment for kidney problems
  • Travel to countries where hepatitis B is common
  • Have hepatitis C
  • Have a chronic liver disease
  • Have HIV
  • Are incarcerated

Hep B Vaccine

All adults should consider getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B. The vaccine is usually given in two or three doses. Trade names include: Engerix-B®, Recombivax HB®, Heplisav-B®. Department of Health and Human Services

Print this Handy Vaccine Schedule for Adults