The hepatitis B virus is one of several viruses that can cause inflammation of the liver (known as hepatitis). 

Hepatitis B is spread through the blood or sexual fluids (vaginal fluids or semen) of an infected person entering the bloodstream of a non-infected person. It can also be transmitted from mother to baby during birth or through breastfeeding (from bleeding nipples).  In Australia, hepatitis B in adults is spread most commonly through unprotected sex and/or the injecting of recreational drugs using shared or unsterile needles and/or equipment. 

After infection with Hepatitis B some people may experience flu-like symptoms including muscle aches and pain, fever and swollen glands. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). However, many people have no symptoms at all and do not know that they have the infection.

Effective treatment for hepatitis B is available and may prevent serious liver damage from happening.

Vaccination against Hepatitis B is also available.

Organisations that specialise in this area of reproductive and/or sexual health

Where to get more information, support or advice

  • Contact your local doctor (GP)
  • Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics


This website provides general information only. The suitability of such general information  varies  from   person  to   person,  depending  on individual circumstances.   You should seek specific medical or legal advice for your individual circumstances.

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The copyright for material on this website is owned by Family Planning Victoria (or, in some cases, by third parties) and is subject to the Copyright Act 1968. We permit you to reproduce or communicate our copyright material if you are a not-for-profit educational organisation, for  the purpose of providing the information to your students provided that you include any disclaimers associated with that material.  Any other reproduction or communication of our material requires our prior consent, via our consent form which you can complete and submit.

Last updated: 5 June 2016

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