What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is virus carried in the blood (known as a Blood Borne Virus or BBV), the virus affects the liver. It can also be called Hep B or HBV.
How do you get it?
- Sharing drug injecting equipment; needles, spoons, filters, water, syringes,
- Sharing equipment for snorting drugs
- Tattoos or piercings where equipment is not sterile
- Unprotected sex (sex without a condom)
- Mother to baby
- Medical or dental treatment overseas in unsterile environments
- Needlestick or splash incidents where skin is punctured or broken skin is splashed with infected blood.
- You may be at risk if you have received a blood transfusion or blood products prior to 1992 in the UK (screening in the UK was introduced in September 1991). Note: Other countries may not screen blood for the Hepatitis B virus
How do I know if I have Hepatitis B?
- Hepatitis B can be present in the body for many years with little or no symptoms, it is therefore important to get tested if you feel you might be at risk of Hepatitis B
- Most common indicators are flu like symptoms; tiredness, nausea, fever, poor concentration and abdominal pain
How do they test for Hepatitis B?
- Testing for Hepatitis B requires a blood sample.
Where can I get tested?
- Make an appointment with your GP or contact Sexual Health Services - call 0345 337 9900
- Your local drug and alcohol services - speak to your local drug and alcohol support team
What is the treatment for Hepatitis B?
There is treattment available for Hepatitis B. The aim of treatment for Hepatitis B is to control the disease and prevent liver damage. The treatment will not cure Hepatitis B (except in very rare cases) but does help to slow progression of serious liver damage.
If your are diagnosed with Hepatitis B you will be referred to a specialist liver clinic. The doctors there will discuss treatment with you.
For more Information about Hepatitis B visit
How do I reduce my risk of getting Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B Vaccine
There is a vaccine for Hepatitis B which can prevent you from becoming infected with the virus. The Hepatitis B vaccine is free if you are considered to be at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. If you are not considered to be at high risk but would like to be vaccinated for Hepatitis B you will need to pay for it. You can ask for the vaccine at your G.P’s office or local sexual health services.
If you require a Hepatitis B vaccine due to the nature of your job, your occupational health provider may be responsible for paying for your vaccination.
Other ways to avoid getting Hepatitis B are:
- Use a condom when having sex
- Go to a licensed practitioner if you are getting a tattoo or piercing
- Keep cuts and wounds clean and covered with a waterproof dressing
- Wear rubber gloves to clean up blood spills
- Never share toothbrushes or razors
- Never share needles, syringes, water or any other equipment when injecting drugs (link needle exchange)
For information about treatment and support visit
For information visit NHS inform