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Hepatitis B virus (HBV)

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Hepatitis B is a viral illness which can be acute or chronic and is generally spread through sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. Hepatitis B can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth.

General information


May is Hepatitis Awareness Month
May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day

Four Things You Should Know About Hepatitis

  1. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are all different diseases. Each type of hepatitis is caused by a different virus and spread in different ways. Hepatitis A does not cause a long-term infection, although it can make people very sick. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections and lead to serious health problems.

  2. Chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis can cause serious damage to the liver, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.

  3. Most people with chronic hepatitis do not know they are infected. More than 4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis in the United States, but most do not know they are infected. Many people live with chronic hepatitis for decades without symptoms or feeling sick.

  4. Getting tested could save your life. Lifesaving care and treatments are available for chronic hepatitis, but getting tested is the only way to know if you are infected. Take the Hepatitis Risk Assessment (exit DHS) to see if you should be tested for viral hepatitis.

For more information regarding hepatitis, visit the following websites:

Information from the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention
Hepatitis Awareness Month (exit DHS)
Hepatitis Risk Assessment (exit DHS)
CDC Viral Hepatitis Homepage (exit DHS)
Know More Hepatitis (exit DHS)

Hepatitis Fact Sheets from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services
 Hepatitis A 
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C

Wisconsin HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Information and Referral Center  (exit DHS)

Information for health professionals

Additional resources


Stephanie Borchardt  
Wisconsin Division of Public Health 
Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response
(Phone 608-266-9923)  (Fax 608-267-9493)

Anna Kocharian 
Wisconsin Division of Public Health 
Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response
(Phone 608-266-8621)  (Fax 608-267-9493)

Last Revised: August 14, 2014