What puts you at risk?

Tooth BrushHepatitis B is found in blood and body fluids including saliva, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Risk factors for the transmission of hepatitis B include:

  • Vertical transmission (from an infected mother to her baby), although the risk is reduced significantly through administration of hepatitis B immunoglobulin within 12 hours of birth
  • Unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Unsterile injecting practices (including sharing any equipment, water, tourniquets, and through unclean hands and surfaces)
  • Unsterile medical, surgical, or dental procedures and immunisation overseas (particularly developing countries)
  • Child-to-child transmission through household contact such as biting
  • Sharing razors, toothbrushes, clippers or other personal effects with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Unsterile cultural practices involving blood
  • Coming into contact with infected blood of another person (for example disability care, nursing, first aid, and fighting)
  • Having received blood products in Australia before 1991
  • Needle stick injuries

Hepatitis B is NOT spread by contaminated food or water, and cannot be spread through casual or social contact such as kissing, sneezing or coughing, hugging or eating food prepared by a person with hepatitis B.