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Can the Hep B Virus Spread through Sex?

by Chari Cohen, Hepatitis B Expert
May 03, 2019

Question: Can the Hep B Virus be spread through sex?

Answer: Hepatitis B is the world’s most common liverinfection.  It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which can attackand injure the liver. HBV is transmitted through blood and infected bodilyfluids. This can occur through direct blood-to-blood contact, unprotected sex,unsterile needles, and from an infected woman to her newborn during thedelivery process. Other possible routes of infection include sharing any sharpinstruments such as razors, toothbrushes or earrings, etc. since small amountsof blood can be exchanged through these items. Also, body piercing andtattooing are potential sources of infection if unsterile needles are used.Hepatitis B is not transmitted casually and it cannot be spread throughsneezing, coughing, hugging or eating food prepared by someone who is infectedwith hepatitis B. The good news is that there is a safe and effective vaccineto protect against getting a hepatitis B virus infection. For more information,please visit: http://www.hepb.org/prevention-and-diagnosis/vaccination/

Chari Cohen is Senior Vice President of Public Health for the Hepatitis B Foundation.

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