HEP Know the FactsWhat is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is usually an acute (short-term) disease for those infected as adults, but it usually becomes a chronic (long-term) disease for those infected as children.

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood and other bodily fluids. The most common way to get hepatitis B is from mother to baby, especially for those born in counties in Asia and the Pacific Islands (see map).

It is important to know your hepatitis B status because there are many things you can do for yourself, your `ohana, and your liver if you have hepatitis B.

Testing & Vaccination

Get Tested

Most people with hepatitis B or C in Hawai`i don’t even know that they have it. Symptoms can take many years to show, so it is important to get tested — even if you feel fine.  Still unsure if you should get tested?  Take a short quiz to find out your risk for hepatitis.

The earlier hepatitis B or C is diagnosed, the more you can do to take care of yourself, your `ohana, and your liver. Do you know your hepatitis B and C status? Find out through one of our testing sites or by calling us at 808-246-9577.

Who should get tested for Hepatitis B?

Even if you have been vaccinated, if you are listed below you should get tested to make sure you didn’t get hepatitis B BEFORE you got vaccinated:

  • Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, especially those born in countries with hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence of 2% or more, or whose parents were born in regions with HBV prevalence greater than 8% (see map)
  • Household contacts and sex partners of people with hepatitis B
  • Pregnant women
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Injection drug users
  • People living with HIV

This is a partial list. For a complete list of recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

For more information on hepatitis B from the CDC, click here or view this fact sheet.  You can also find more resources at www.hepbsmart.com