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FAQ

How is hepatitis B spread?

Page last updated 26 June 2018

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids, including semen and vaginal fluid. Therefore, you may be exposed to the hepatitis B virus through unprotected sex (without a condom), or through sharing needles for drug injection, or through acupuncture, body piercing and tattooing, if proper sterility and hygiene practices are not followed. 

Hepatitis B may also be transferred from a mother to baby during birth or in the time after birth. 

In less common cases, hepatitis B may also be spread by contact with personal items such as contaminated razors and toothbrushes.

Due to screening of blood products and organs for transplant, contracting hepatitis B through a blood transfusion or organ transplant is not likely in Australia.

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Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government, Department of Health, Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition, 4.5 Hepatitis B. Available at http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-5 (accessed 5 April 2018).
  2. NSW Government, Department of Health, Hepatitis B fact sheet. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/hepatitis_b.aspx (accessed 5 April 2018).
  3. Victorian State Government, Better Health Channel, Hepatitis B. Available at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hepatitis-b (accessed 5 April 2018).
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis B FAQs for the Public. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/bfaq.htm (accessed 5 April 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0173a - Date of preparation May 2018

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