Did you know that the hepatitis B vaccination is now recommended for all adults aged 19-59? This new, expanded recommendation will help protect adults from the hepatitis B virus, which attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer and death. But the good news is that the vaccine is safe and very effective at preventing infection.

Risk factors

Adults over age 60 may also choose to be vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people over 60 years with risk factors, including:

  • Household contacts of HBV-infected persons.
  • Current or previous injection drug use.
  • Sexually active persons with more than one sex partner (i.e., in the past six months) or with a non-monogamous partner.
  • Persons with end-stage renal disease on dialysis or expected to be on dialysis.
  • Persons with liver disease.
  • Persons with HIV.
  • Health care personnel, public safety workers, and other persons with risk for exposure to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids.

VA offers hepatitis A vaccination and testing and treatment for hepatitis C.

Learn about additional risk factors.

Getting vaccinated is a great way you can protect yourself from hepatitis B. It is also important to make sure you practice other prevention methods including practicing safer sex. You can do this by using condoms and reducing your number of partners. Remember not to share any personal items such as razors or toothbrushes that might have blood on them.

Ask your VA provider about hepatitis

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and the perfect time to talk to your VA provider about whether you should be vaccinated for hepatitis B

If you inject drugs, make sure you use clean equipment every time. If you need help to stop or reduce your drug use, ask your VA provider. These steps can help protect you from hepatitis B. VA also offers hepatitis A vaccination and testing and treatment for hepatitis C.

Learn more about viral hepatitis prevention and treatment.

By Elizabeth Maguire is the communications lead for the HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions Program

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Published on May. 11, 2022

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