Hep B

Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which can lead to serious health problems in the liver, which include liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Transmission of the HBV occurs when an individual comes into contact with the blood, semen, or other body fluid of an infected person. Many people that are infected with the HBV do not have any symptoms, so it is important that high-risk individuals, including those at risk of coming into contact with HBV, get screened and vaccinated according to CDC recommendations. While there is no specific treatment for individuals that are infected, a vaccine is available to protect individuals against a HBV infection. In April 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations were updated to include a two-dose series of HepB-CpG as an option for hepatitis B vaccination for individuals age 18 years and older. View the updated CDC recommendations.

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. Vaccination can help protect individuals and contribute to the elimination of this highly infectious disease.
  • In the US, up to 2.2 million individuals 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.
  • Healthcare professionals.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is available alone or in a combination with hepatitis A vaccine.
  • View complete 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 and/or skin 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.

Why is hepatitis B vaccine important?
  • The hepatitis B vaccine prevents infection with hepatitis B virus, which causes liver cancer.
  • Once infected, there is no cure 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.

As of April 19, 2018, CDC recommendations now include a two-dose series of HepB-CpG as an option for hepatitis B vaccination for individuals age 18 years and older. View additional information on the updated CDC recommendations.


Diabetes and Hepatitis B Vaccination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Facts about Hepatitis B for Adults


Hepatitis B

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)

Hepatitis B FAQs

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hepatitis B Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hepatitis B Public Service Announcements (Videos)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hepatitis B Radio PSA (2012)

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID): 30 second radio public service announcement (PSA)

Hepatitis B Resources and Support

Hepatitis B Foundation

Hepatitis B Vaccination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hepatitis B Vaccination in Diabetes Care

American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE)

Hepatitis Infection Map

HepVu: Interactive online resource that visualizes the first standardized state-level estimates of people with past or current Hepatitis C infection across the United States.

Hepatitis Risk Assessment

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Take this 5 minute hepatitis risk assessment and get a personalized report

HIV and Viral Hepatitis Fact Sheet

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Know Hepatitis B

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Hepatitis B is common worldwide, especially in many parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In the US, Hepatitis B disproportionately affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). While AAPIs make up less than 5% of the US population, they account for more than 50% of Americans living with Hepatitis B.

NACCHO Adult Hepatitis B Vaccination: Implementation Guide

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.

Preventing Hepatitis B in US Adults through Increased Vaccination Rates among At-Risk Groups (October 2018)

Call to Action on the burden of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in US adults and key strategies to promote vaccination as a highly effective tool in preventing HBV infection

Questions Frequently Asked About Hepatitis B

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

The ABCs of Viral Hepatitis

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Fact Sheet

Viral Hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & Pathology (Video)

Osmosis - Youtube Channel