The Virus

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a blood-borne disease transmitted from person to person by the exchange of bodily fluids. The most common methods of transmitting the virus are mother to child, percutaneous (either by needle stick injury in the hospital or sharing hygiene equipment, such as razors and nail clippers, with a person with Hepatitis B), and by sexual intercourse with a person who has Hepatitis B. It is not spread through ordinary contact such as shaking hands or kissing. There are certain groups of people who are at higher risk of infection. This is based on occupational and environmental risk and includes healthcare workers, persons who inject drugs, persons with multiple sexual partners, persons living with people who have Hepatitis B, and those receiving numerous blood transfusions, among others.