ABOUT HEPATITIS B
Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus (HBV) is transmitted through blood and infected bodily fluids. This can occur through direct blood-to-blood contact, unprotected sex, use of unsterile needles, and from an infected woman to her newborn during the delivery process. You cannot get HBV from sneezing or coughing, kissing or hugging, breast feeding, food or water, casual contact or sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses.
How do you know if you have HEPATITIS B?
Only a blood test can tell for sure. See your doctor if you have symptoms of hepatitis (e.g., extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, joint pain, yellow skin or eyes), or if you think you had direct contact with someone who has hepatitis B.
The good news is that there is a safe and effective vaccine for hepatitis B. The vaccine is a series of three shots given over a six-month period that will provide lifetime protection. You cannot get hepatitis B from the vaccine-there is no human blood or liver virus in the vaccine. GET HEPATITIS B vaccine if: • you are under 19 years of age • your sex partner has hepatitis B • you are a man who has sex with men • you recently had a sexually transmitted disease • you have sex with more than one partner • you shoot drugs • you live with someone who has chronic hepatitis B • you have a job that exposes you to human blood • you are a kidney dialysis patient • you live or travel for more than 6 months in countries where hepatitis B is common If you are not sure whether you are at risk, ask your doctor or nurse. WHERE CAN I GET THE HEPATITIS B VACCINE?
Talk with your doctor and check your local health department or health clinic to see if they have free or reduced-cost vaccine programs.