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How is hepatitis B spread?

Page last updated 28 April 2020

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

2. Australian Government, Department of Health. Australian Immunisation Handbook. Hepatitis B. Available at: (accessed 4 March 2020). 

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0173(2)a - Date of preparation April 2020