How is Hepatitis B spread?
Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. People can become infected with the virus during activities such as:
- Birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth)
- Sex with an infected partner
- Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
- Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
- Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- Exposure to blood from needlesticks or other sharp instruments
Can a person spread Hepatitis B and not know it?
Yes. Many people with chronic Hepatitis B virus infection do not know they are infected since they do not feel or look sick. However, they still can spread the virus to others and are at risk of serious health problems themselves.
Can Hepatitis B be spread through sex?
Yes. Among adults in the United States, Hepatitis B is most commonly spread through sexual contact and accounts for nearly two-thirds of acute Hepatitis B cases. In fact, Hepatitis B is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV and can be passed through the exchange of body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids, and blood.
What are ways Hepatitis B is not spread?
Hepatitis B virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.
How long does the Hepatitis B virus survive outside the body?
Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body at least 7 days. During that time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not infected.