Hepatitis B (Hep B or HBV) is a virus that infects and can damage the liver. It is passed from one person to another when a body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus, such as the blood or semen of an HBV infected person, gets into another person’s blood stream through openings in the skin (punctures, cuts, sores) or through the mucosal membranes (nose, genitals). Hepatitis B can live outside of the body for at least 7 days.
Hepatitis B can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).
Chronic Hepatitis B can cause permanent damage to the liver and could lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. There is a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B – three doses provides full protection.
Hepatitis B and Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, or thinking about having a baby, learn about Hepatitis B and Pregnancy:
Hepatitis B screening in the Chinese and Korean communities
Hep B Prevention
- Get all three doses of the Hepatitis B Vaccine
- Don’t share drug use supplies such as needles, syringes, cotton, rinse water, cookers, spoons, straws or pipes. You can get clean needles at many locations in NYC.
- Don’t share or reuse medical supplies (diabetic needles, finger stick devices, etc.)
- Have safer sex: avoid sexual activity that involves the possibility of blood exposure and use condoms. You can get free NYC condoms.
- Do not share personal items (razors, clippers, toothbrushes, etc.) that could have blood on them.
- Only get tattoos and piercings in a licensed business and be sure that new sterile equipment is used.
- Clean blood spills immediately with 1 part bleach and 10 parts water.