What 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
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.