Hepatitis B Risk
Who is at Risk for Hepatitis B?
- Geographic Risk: People born in countries of the world where Hepatitis B is common are at greatest risk for having chronic infection. If you were born in one of these countries it is a good idea to get a test.
- Weak or Undeveloped Immune System Risk: If a person has a fully developed and strong immune system they can often fight off Hepatitis B during the first few months of infection and then they become immune for life. If a person has an undeveloped immune system (such as a baby or small child) or a weak immune system (such as in asomeone who has HIV, cancer or is elderly) they may have trouble fighting off Hepatitis B and may develop chronic or life-long infection.
- Infants: When babies are born, their immune systems are not fully developed. If the mother has Hepatitis B there is a high risk of passing it along to the baby during childbirth. It is very important that all pregnant women get tested for Hepatitis B and if they are positive, special precautions are taken to
prevent the baby from developing chronic Hepatitis B. All babies should get the Hepatitis B birth dose vaccine.
- People with HIV, Cancer, Dialysis: People who have a weak immune system may have trouble fighting off Hepatitis B and have a higher likelihood of developing chronic or life-long infection.
- Risky Behavior: A person who shares drug injection equipment or has multiple sex partners is at high risk for exposure to Hepatitis B.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it is a good idea to get a test:
- Are you pregnant? All pregnant women should get the test for Hepatitis B.
- Did your mother have Hepatitis B when you were born?
- Do you need chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy?
- Have you ever been on dialysis?
- Have you ever been stuck with a needle or been exposed to someone's blood while on the job?
- Have you ever used a razor, toothbrush, or other household item that may have had blood or sexual fluids on it?
- Have you been diagnosed with HIV or any STD?
- Are you a man who has sex with men?
- Have you had sex with more than one partner in a 6-month period?
- Have you ever injected drugs or shared any drug use equipment (needles, cookers, cotton, straws, pipes)?
- Have you ever been incarcerated?
- Did you ever get a tattoo or piercing anywhere other than a licensed business?
- Do you have abnormal liver tests for an unknown reason?
- Have you ever been told you have Hepatitis?
- Were you born in one of the following areas of the world?
- Were either of your parents born in one of the following areas of the world?
- Do you live with someone from one of the following countries of the world?
- Do you travel to one of the following countries?
Map courtesy of CDC
Australia & South Pacific:
all countries except Australia and New Zealand
all countries except Cyprus and Israel
all countries except Hungary
Malta, Spain, and indigenous populations
Alaska Natives and indigenous populations in Northern Canada:
Guatemala and Honduras
Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, and Amazonian areas of Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, and Peru
Antigua-Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos Islands
Do You Need a Hepatitis B test? [Brochure] (PDF)
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