The Virus

Hepatitis B is the world’s most common liver infection

Hep B is a serious and potentially deadly liver infection, but treatments are available for some patients. It is caused by becoming infected with the hep B virus (HBV). It can cause serious liver problems like inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.


In the US, chronic (long-term) hep B affects many people

  • Approximately 257 million people are infected worldwide
  • In 2015 alone, an estimated 887,000 people died due to complications from hep B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer

People born in areas shaded in red have a higher risk* of hep B infection

People born in areas shaded in red have a higher risk of hep B infection
*Higher risk: 2% of population with hep B.
  • Most foreign-born people in the US with chronic hepatitis B are from high-risk regions, including Asia and the Pacific Islands
  • Hep B is most common in the Western Pacific region and Africa. Over 6% of the adults in these areas are infected
  • Over 3% of the population in the Eastern Mediterranean Region is infected with hepatitis B
  • In Southeast Asia, approximately 2% of the general population has hepatitis B

DON’T WAIT If you or your parents were born in a higher risk area, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting tested for hep B.


In the US, chronic hep B most commonly affects people from Asia, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Africa

Chronic Hep B

What happens if I get hep B?

When someone is first infected, it is called an ACUTE infection.

A person's body may fight off the infection.

However, if a person has had hepatitis B for more than 6 months, it’s called CHRONIC hepatitis B.

Hep B is sometimes called a “SILENT KILLER” because even if you don’t feel sick, the virus may be active and causing liver damage. However, chronic hep B can be managed.

Most people with chronic hep B have no symptoms and feel healthy. However:

  • They can still infect others
  • They may already have liver damage

It is important to talk to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

Jaundice
(yellowish eyes & skin)
Flu-like
symptoms
Nausea
& vomiting
Joint pain
Upper right stomach pain
Lack of
appetite
Tiredness
Light-colored stools/
Dark urine

Effects on the Liver

The liver is a vital organ that you can’t live without

The liver is the largest organ inside the body

  • Processes what you eat and drink into energy and nutrients
  • Fights off infection
  • Removes harmful chemicals from your blood
  • Makes substances that help digest food

Chronic hepatitis B can be slowly causing damage without your knowledge and may lead to:

Healthy Liver
Inflammation
Fibrosis
Scarring of the liver
Cirrhosis
Severe scarring that may affect the way your liver functions
  • 15-25% of people with chronic hep B may develop serious liver problems, including cirrhosis or liver cancer
Liver Cancer
Chronic hep B is a major cause of liver cancer

How the Virus Is Spread

How do you get hep B? The ONLY way to get the hepatitis B virus is from coming into contact with infected blood or bodily fluid.