What is Hep B?

The three most common hepatitis viruses (in Australia) are hep A, hep B and hep C.

Hep B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It’s the most common liver infection in the world. Hep B often has no symptoms and it can lead to a number of liver health problems if it is left unmanaged or untreated.

Liver damage and health problems resulting from hep B can include:

  • Cirrhosis (scarring of liver tissue)
  • Fibrosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver failure

But, with proper monitoring and treatment (if necessary) people with hep B can live healthy lives. It’s very important to get tested if you think you have been at risk of hep B, so that you can get the care you need.


Who is at Risk of Getting Hep B?

Hep B is passed on most commonly from mother to baby, or through blood-to-blood contact.


How Is Hep B Transmitted?

The hep B virus can live  in blood and sexual fluids. You are at risk of hep B transmission when there is blood-to-blood contact with someone with hep B. Unprotected sex can also be a transmission risk for hep B.


Why Test For Hep B?

About 1 in 100 people in NSW have hep B. Almost half of those aren’t diagnosed yet.

If you think you may have hep B, the only way to know for sure is to get tested. Hep B is not a routine testing procedure and unless you ask for it, the check-ups you do with your family doctor will not include it. If you want to know your hep B status, ask your doctor for a hep B test.


Managing and Monitoring Hep B

Hep B is an easily managed condition. If you have hep B you can live a long and healthy life if you see your doctor regularly for monitoring. The most important thing is to see your doctor every 6 months for liver checks.

Hep B can change over time. There are times when the virus is quiet with little damage occurring. At other times, the virus is active – and this is when the liver gets damaged.


Learn More About Hep B

Find out more about hep B and make the best health choices for you. Our hepatitis B FAQs aim to quickly answer the most commonly asked questions about hep B. You might have had hep B for several years, or you might have been diagnosed with hep B recently. In any case, our hep B FAQs are for you.

You can also call our free Hepatitis Infoline to speak to someone who can provide you with more information about hep B. Call 1800 803 990 today.

For in-language Vietnamese and Arabic resources about hep B, click here >>

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