Hepatitis B

Why vaccinate adults against hepatitis B?

  • Hepatitis B can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.
  • Hepatitis B is incurable.  A safe, effective vaccine has been available since the 1980s.  A three-shot series will protect and contribute to the elimination of this highly infectious disease.
  • Up to 1.4 million Americans have chronic HBV infection.
  • Hepatitis B is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.

Which adults need hepatitis B vaccine?
  • Any sexually active adult who is not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship.
  • People with diabetes age 19 through 59 years.
  • Those with close household contact with an infected person.
  • Adults who share needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is available alone or in a combination with hepatitis A vaccine.
  • View a full list of adults who need hepatitis B vaccine.
Did you know...
A person infected with the hepatitis B virus may not feel sick but can still infect others.
 
What happens when someone gets hepatitis B?
  • Some people who get hepatitis B infection have health problems in the first six months including loss of appetite, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain. Jaundice is another common symptom that causes the whites of the eyes to turn yellow.
  • In some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic (long-term) and can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and even death.Hepatitis A can cause varying symptoms, but most often causes fever, tiredness, appetite loss, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, and dark urine.

Why is hepatitis B vaccine important?
  • The hepatitis B vaccine prevents infection with hepatitis B virus, which causes liver cancer.
  • The hepatitis B virus is 100 times more infectious than HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Once infected, there is no specific treatment for hepatitis B and the medicines currently available will only work for some people.
  • Immunization is the best way to avoid hepatitis B infection.


FAQ: What else causes liver cancer besides hepatitis B?
 
Smoking, excessive drinking, and family history are among the other risk factors for liver cancer, but chronic infection with hepatitis B is the most common risk factor. People with chronic hepatitis B infections are 100 times more likely to get liver cancer than people without the infection.


Resources

Diabetes and Hepatitis B Vaccination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Facts about Hepatitis B for Adults

adultvaccination.org

Hepatitis B Information for Health Professionals

CDC

Hepatitis B Information for the Public

CDC

Hepatitis B Vaccination

CDC

Hepatitis B (2012) - 30 Seconds

HIV and Viral Hepatitis Fact Sheet

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

NACCHO Adult Hepatitis B Vaccination Toolkit

Adult Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Vaccination: An Implementation Guide for Local Public Health, contains case studies, lessons learned, tools, and resources to help local health departments and their partners administer hepatitis B vaccine for high-risk adults.

Questions Frequently Asked About Hepatitis B

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): Read frequently asked questions about Hepatitis B and if you need the vaccine