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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a leading cause of liver cancer.

Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer and up to 15% of all liver cancer cases in the world are related to the hepatitis B virus.

Most people who contract the virus do not know they have it and do not receive treatment to prevent liver cancer.

You can reduce your risk of liver cancer by getting vaccinated to protect against hepatitis B or by getting treated for the virus before liver cancer develops.


Get vaccinated or tested

Hepatitis B is linked to liver cancer. Get yourself and your children vaccinated to prevent cancer. Get tested according to guidelines, and if you test positive, get treated for the virus.

All ages: Hepatitis B vaccination

The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in three doses between birth and 6–18 months of age. All medically stable infants should be vaccinated against hepatitis B.

If you were never vaccinated for hepatitis B, talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated now. The vaccine is recommended for those up to age 59 at average risk and for those ages 60 and older who are at high risk of hepatitis B infection. (Adults ages 60 and up who are at average risk may also get vaccinated.)

All adults: Hepatitis B testing

All adults (18+) should get screened for hepatitis B at least once in their lifetime. Pregnant people should get screened during each pregnancy. If you test positive, treatments are available.

Know your risk for hepatitis B

You are at increased risk for hepatitis B infection if you:

  • Have had sex without a condom with someone who is infected.
  • Have had multiple sexual partners.
  • Have a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Were assigned male at birth and have sex with others assigned male at birth.
  • Have injected recreational drugs or shared needles.
  • Live with someone who has chronic hepatitis B.
  • Have traveled to (or come from) a country where many people have hepatitis B. Areas with high continuous prevalence of hepatitis B include Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin (excluding Japan, Australia and New Zealand), sub-Saharan Africa, the Amazon Basin, parts of the Middle East, the Central Asian Republics and some countries in Eastern Europe.
  • Are exposed to blood through your work.
  • Are on long-term hemodialysis.
  • Are infected with HIV.
  • Were born to someone who had hepatitis B while pregnant.


Reduce your risk for hepatitis B and liver cancer

You can get hepatitis B from contact with bodily fluids of a person who has the infection. Follow this guidance to reduce your risk.

Icon illustration of a need and syringe.

Get vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Get vaccinated against hepatitis B if you weren’t previously—and make sure your children are as well. It’s recommended for those of average risk up to age 59.

Icon illustration of a magnifying glass.

Get screened for hepatitis B.

Get screened for hepatitis B at least once in your lifetime or more often based on your personal risk factors. If you test positive, get treated for the virus.

Icon illustration of a condom package.

Practice safer sex.

Use a new condom the right way every time you have sex to protect yourself. This does not provide 100% protection.

Icon illustration of a plastic bucket with a biohazard symbol on it.

Do not share needles.

Do not share needles to inject drugs.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B

Some do not show symptoms when first infected with hepatitis B (acute infection), but up to 50% develop symptoms that can last months. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis B infection can take years to develop. Talk with a health care provider if you are experiencing:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored or pale stools
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or white part of eyes (sclera)
  • Muscle aches