Hepatitis B

People with diabetes have higher rates of hepatitis B then the general population.

The hepatitis B virus is usually spread when blood or other body fluids from a person with the hepatitis B virus enters your body. This can occur if you share blood glucose meters, lancets or other diabetes care supplies like syringes or insulin pens.

The hepatitis B virus can also spread through sexual contact and from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a liver disease. At first, you develop an "acute" infection. Acute hepatitis B is the first 6 months after being infected. Some people can fight the virus and clear the infection.

For others, the infection remains and leads to a "chronic" or lifelong, illness. Over time, this can cause serious damage to the liver and lead to complications.

What Can I Do?

  • Prevent exposure to hepatitis B by not sharing diabetes care equipment.
  • The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated. The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for all unvaccinated adults with diabetes younger than 60 years of age. The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of 3 shots over a period of 6 months (0,1, 6 month schedule). The entire series is needed for long-term protection.
  • If you have not received the hepatitis B vaccine series talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated. If you think you have already been vaccinated, confirm with your doctor.

More Resources

  • Last Reviewed: June 7, 2013
  • Last Edited: March 30, 2015

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