What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Poor appetite
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yelling at the skin, eyes)
  • Dark urine

How does Hepatitis B spread?

It is spread by exposure to infected body fluids including blood and semen. This can happen through sexual contact, sharing needles, syringes, drug-injection equipment or from mothers to baby at birth, sharing personal items like razors, toothbrushes, glucose monitoring equipment, and accidental needle sticks.

What are the complications of Hepatitis B?

  • Cirrhosis
  • liver cancer
  • liver failure
  • kidney disease
  • inflammation of blood vessels

What is the Hepatitis B Vaccine and how do you prevent it?

The best way to prevent hepatitis B is to get vaccinated. Vaccines approved in the United states include,

Single-antigen vaccine:

  • Engerix-B
  • Recombivax HB
  • Heplisav-B

Three-antigen vaccine:

  • Prehevbrio

Combination vaccines:

  • PEDIARIX: Combined hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (DTaP), and inactivated poliovirus (IPV) vaccine. Cannot be administered before age 6 weeks or after age 7 years.
  • TWINRIX: Combined Hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines. Recommended for people aged 18 years and older who are at increased risk for both HAV and HBV infections.
  • VAXELIS: Combined diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae (H. influenzae) type b. VAXELIS is approved for use as a 3-dose series in children 6 weeks through 4 years of age.

Who needs the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

The Hepatitis B Vaccination should be given to all infants, children, and adults through age 59 years of age as well as adults ages 60 years and older with risk factors for Hepatitis B, including:

  • Sex partners of people testing positive for HBsAg
  • Sexually active people who are not in a long term, mutually monogamous relationship
  • Those seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted infection
  • Men who have sex with men

People at risk for infection by percutaneous or mucosal exposure to blood:

  • People with current or recent injection drug use
  • Household contacts of people testing positive for HBsAg
  • Staff members and residents of facilities for people with developmental disabilities
  • Healthcare and public safety personnel with reasonably anticipated risks for exposure to blood or blood-containing body fluids
  • People maintained on dialysis be it in a center or at home
  • People with diabetes


  • International travelers to countries with high or intermediate level of endemic HBV infection
  • People with hepatitis C virus infection
  • Those with chronic liver disease
  • Those with HIV infection
  • People who are incarcerated

Contact us about Travel Vaccinations

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