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Patient Support by Telephone – If you wish to communicate with other people who have hepatitis B (or other hepatitis virus) from the privacy of your own home, the Hepatitis Foundation International would like to put you in touch. All you need to do is join the Patient Advocacy Telephone Support Network (PATS). For information, visit the web site at www.hepfi.org or call 1-800-891-0707.



How is hepatitis B spread?

If you live with someone who has hepatitis B it is essential that you are aware of the virus and how it is spread. Like the AIDS virus, HBV is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions.

How can I prevent it?

There is no cure for HBV, but there is a safe and effective vaccine. Every person in your house hold should be vaccinated against HBV. If your spouse or sexual partner is a carrier of HBV, you should be vaccinated immediately, since the disease is passed through blood and sexual activity.

How do I know the vaccine worked?

The vaccine is extremely effective, but, if you request it, your doctor can test to see if the vaccine worked for you . Following your vaccination, ask your doctor to test your blood to ensure the vaccine has worked for you. Your doctor will do a blood test to see if you have antibodies to Hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) and are protected against HBV.

Can I be infected and not even know it?

Hepatitis B is known as the "Silent Infection" because carriers of HBV may not become noticeably sick and may not realize they have the disease. Many people do not have symptoms when they are first infected. After an incubation period of anywhere from 40 to 140 days, about one-half of infected adults do experience some symptoms. Either way, whether they have symptoms or not, they can pass the virus onto others.

If you live with an HBV carrier, do not share personal items such as toothbrushes, nail clippers, pierced earrings, or razors.

If your son or daughter has Hepatitis B, see our "Advice to Parents".


In case of an accident, always follow strict disinfection procedures. Wear latex or rubber gloves when cleaning up spills of blood, vomit, or other bodily secretions. Keep a diluted solution of bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water) in a spray bottle around the house. If blood is spilled, spray the area with the bleach, allow to stand for one minute and wipe clean. If blood is spilled on clothing, the clothing should be washed in a diluted solution of bleach. Household alcohol, such as rubbing alcohol will also kill the virus. Discard the towels or cleaning materials in a plastic bag and tie the bag securely. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after cleaning blood spills.

Disinfection procedures should be followed when accidents happen with anyone's blood and secretions, not just a carrier's blood and secretions.

Resource: Hepatitis B Foundation
700 East Butler Avenue, Doylestown, PA 18901-2697
(215) 489-4900
E-mail: info@hepb.org

© 2003 California Hepatitis Resource Center