Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hep B virus. It’s the most common liver infection in the world, usually passed on from mother to baby, or through exposure to the blood of someone with hep B (usually through unsterile medical procedures).

Hep B can be very serious if undetected. Hep B can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis (scarring of liver tissue), liver cancer or liver failure if it is left unmanaged or untreated. Luckily, people with hep B can live healthy lives if they are treated by a doctor.

A big concern is that many people with hep B don’t know they have it. This is because the virus doesn’t show symptoms in most people. These people become ill, and go to the doctor or hospital not knowing they have hep B until they receive the results of their blood test.

If you would like to learn more about hep B, ask your doctor or call the Hepatitis Infoline (see below).

Click here to check out the current hep B awareness campaign >>

In this video, follow Dr Thomas Tu’s personal story as he is diagnosed with hep B when he was a teenager and learns to live with the virus. He lives and works with, and manages his hep B. Hepatitis B can be managed once diagnosed and treatment is covered by Medicare for all Australian citizens.

What Might Cause Hep B?


Hep B is caused by the Hepatitis B virus, which is most commonly transmitted through:

  • From mother to baby at birth
  • Unsterile medical procedures
  • Unsterile tattooing and piercing instruments
  • Unsafe sexual practices

Find out more information about hep B transmission here.


Hepatitis B Signs and Symptoms


Hep B often has no symptoms, but if they do appear, they include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain

The symptoms of hep B, if any, are the same for men, women, children and babies.


What To Do if You Think You Have Hep B?


Hep B is an easily manageable condition. If you think you might have Hep B, see your doctor for a blood test. You can live a long and healthy life if you do have Hep B, as long as you regularly visit your doctor for monitoring.


Call The Hepatitis Infoline For More Information About Hepatitis B


If you’re unsure what to do next or have a question about hep B, call the Hepatitis Infoline for more information and support.

You can also browse our FAQs, or download one of our free online resources.

You might be able to access healthcare via your computer or phone. Click here to learn more about Telehealth and Hep B >>

This page last updated 12 Dec 2017

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