Hepatitis B is often transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. People that share needles are also at risk of contracting the virus. Because the virus is spread by coming into contact with blood and sexual fluids, it’s even possible to transmit the virus through sharing toothbrushes and razors with an infected individual. It’s recommended that these types of toiletries are never shared even if someone does not have a known hepatitis B infection.
It’s commonly said that mosquitoes spread hepatitis B from person to person. Although this seems like it could be possible since mosquitoes carry blood from people they’ve bitten, there are no known courses throughout the world of a hepatitis B infection spread by mosquitos.
Left untreated, hepatitis B can be extremely serious and lead to chronic liver disease and even death. According to the CDC, there are up to 1.4 million cases of chronic hepatitis B each year in the United States with as many as 5,000 people dying each year in the United States from liver damage or liver failure caused by the virus. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus or you have engaged in sharing toiletries with others, sharing needles, unprotected sex, or any other risky behavior, it’s important that you get tested.
The following people are at increased risk of hepatitis B and should get tested:
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