Who is at Risk for Hepatitis B?
- Geographic Risk: People born in countries of the world where Hepatitis B is common are at greatest risk for having chronic infection. If you were born in one of these countries it is a good idea to get a test.
- Weak or Undeveloped Immune System Risk: If a person has a fully developed and strong immune system they can often fight off Hepatitis B during the first few months of infection and then they become immune for life. If a person has an undeveloped immune system (such as a baby or small child) or a weak immune system (such as in someone who has HIV, cancer or is elderly) they may have trouble fighting off Hepatitis B and may develop chronic or life-long infection.
- Infants: When babies are born, their immune systems are not fully developed. If the mother has Hepatitis B there is a high risk of passing it along to the baby during childbirth. It is very important that all pregnant women get tested for Hepatitis B and if they are positive, special precautions are taken to
prevent the baby from developing chronic Hepatitis B. All babies should get the Hepatitis B birth dose vaccine.
- People with HIV, Cancer, Dialysis: People who have a weak immune system may have trouble fighting off Hepatitis B and have a higher likelihood of developing chronic or life-long infection.
- Risky Behavior: A person who shares drug injection equipment or has multiple sex partners is at high risk for exposure to Hepatitis B.
► Who Should Get Tested for Hepatitis B?
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Last Updated: January 12, 2012