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How Do You Get Hepatitis B?

You get hepatitis B after blood, vaginal fluids, or semen infected with the hepatitis B virus enters your system. You can get hepatitis B doing the following things with someone who has the infection:

  • Having condomless sex.
  • Sharing unsterilized needles for tattoos, piercing, or drugs.
  • Sharing razors, glucose monitors, and some other medical equipment.
  • Getting a needlestick injury or come into contact with infected blood in another way.
  • Coming in contact with open sores.

Mothers with hepatitis B can also pass the infection on to their babies during childbirth.

Activities That Don’t Pass on Hepatitis B

Many people worry about getting close to someone with hepatitis B. However, you cannot get hepatitis B from the following activities:

  • Sharing food or beverages.
  • Using the same eating utensils.
  • Sharing a pool or hot tub.
  • Breastfeeding.
  • Kissing, hugging, or shaking or holding hands.
  • Sneezing or coughing.

All donated blood undergoes thorough screening, so getting hepatitis B from a blood transfusion is incredibly rare.

Most people are vaccinated for hepatitis B when they are young, so they’re unlikely to get hepatitis B. If you’re concerned you might have been infected and aren’t vaccinated, reach out to your health care provider.

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