Hepatitis B is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus infecting the liver. Click here for more information.
Hepatitis B is an illness caused when the hepatitis B virus infects and causes damage to the liver. Click here for more information.
Hepatitis B is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.1 In addition, the hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body (e.g., on surfaces or objects contaminated with blood or body fluids like semen, vaginal fluids and saliva) for at least 7 days.2
Hepatitis B is transmitted from one person to another through direct contact with infected blood and body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids and saliva. Direct contact means that some blood or body fluid from an infected person gets into the blood stream of another person. Click here for more information.
Yes, there are steps that people can take to avoid getting infected. Click here for more information.
There are effective medicines that can help manage the disease. You should ask your doctor for advice on what medicines would work best for you. Click here for more information.
Hepatitis B vaccines are available and given to babies at birth in many countries. Children and adults who are not infected can also be vaccinated to protect against future infection. Click/rollover here for more information.
Remember, a hepatitis B vaccine will not protect you if you have already been infected with the hepatitis B virus.
Of the estimated 350 million people in the world who are chronically infected with hepatitis B, more than 75% come from areas in the Asia-Pacific region.3 Many people in these areas become infected with the hepatitis B virus during childhood.1 In some of these regions, as many as 8 to 10% of the adult population have chronic hepatitis B.1 Click here for more information.
Most people in the early stages of hepatitis B infection don’t have any symptoms, so the only way to be sure if you’re infected is to have a hepatitis B blood test. If you are at high risk of infection, you think you may have been infected, or you have been feeling unwell, see your doctor and ask to be tested. The testing process is very simple, but your doctor is the best person to explain what needs to be done.
1 World Health Organization. Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/. Accessed 20 June 2007.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/Ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/faqb.htm. Accessed 20 June 2007.
3 Lesmana LA, et al. Liver Int 2006;26(Suppl 2):3-10.