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Living With Chronic Hepatitis B

July 2006

Chronic hepatitis B is a life-long liver disease that can be spread to others.

What Should You Know to Keep Others From Getting Infected With HBV?

* The efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission.

You cannot spread HBV by:

You should not be excluded from work, school, or other daily activities because you have hepatitis B.


What Is Chronic (Life-Long) Hepatitis B?

Chronic hepatitis B is a life-long liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Some people who get infected never get rid of the virus. They stay infected for life, and can spread HBV to others. If you have had other types of hepatitis, such as hepatitis A or hepatitis C, you can still get hepatitis B.

How Serious Is Hepatitis B?

1.25 million people living in the United States have chronic hepatitis B. Not all people who are infected with HBV look or feel sick; they can have the virus and not have symptoms or know they are sick.

If you have chronic hepatitis B you are more likely to get cirrhosis (scarring) and liver cancer. Each year, about 5,000 people die of cirrhosis or liver disease caused by HBV.

How Could You Have Been Infected With HBV?

HBV is spread by exposure to blood or body fluids from an infected person. You may have been infected if:

How Can I Take Care of My Liver?

Is There Treatment for Hepatitis B?

What if I Am Pregnant?

Your baby can get infected with HBV during birth, but this can be prevented.

It is okay for you to breastfeed your baby.

For Information on Viral Hepatitis

Access our website at:
or write
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Division of Viral Hepatitis
Mailstop G37
Atlanta, GA 30333
or contact your state or local health department

Persons depicted in these materials are models and used for illustrative purposes only.

This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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