You should see a hospital specialist when you are first diagnosed who will do more tests and explain what happens next and how often you should see a doctor.
Your doctor is there to help you, so ask them any questions. They might be able to recommend things like local groups where you can meet other people living with hepatitis B.
Friends and family
You don’t have to tell your family and friends if you don’t want to. But it can be a relief to tell someone else. Having someone to talk to can stop you feeling alone. They can also help to support you with emotional and practical things. Think about who you trust and who has been there for you in the past.
Hepatitis B can be passed on. So you will also need to think about telling the people you are close to so they can get a test or a vaccine.
It can help to think through the conversation first. What are the main things you want the person to know? They might have lots of questions, so have some information you can show them like this website.
In most cases it is up to you whether you tell your employer. If you are a healthcare worker, then you must tell them. You can read more about working in healthcare with hepatitis B on the government website.
The hepatitis B virus is passed on through blood and other bodily fluids. It is possible but unlikely for people to get hepatitis B from dried blood on things like razors. The virus could be accidentally passed on to people you are close to, especially people you have sex with.
There are several things you can do to help keep people you are close to safe. It’s a good idea for everyone in your household and your sexual partners to have a hepatitis B test.
A safe and very effective vaccine is available for free to stop hepatitis B being passed on to those you are close to. This includes adults and children. If you get pregnant, there are tests and treatment to stop the virus being passed on to your baby. People with hepatitis B can have a family without their partner or baby getting hepatitis B.
Other ways to keep your friends and family safe include:
- Not sharing personal items such as razors or toothbrushes
- Using a condom or dam when you have sex
- Not sharing needles or other things to take drugs such as straws or bank notes
It is safe to make and share food and to kiss and hug people. The virus can only be passed on through blood.
Don’t be scared or frightened by hepatitis B – it is manageable.
Monica has had hepatitis B since she was a baby Read her story .
Living with hepatitis B can damage your liver. So it’s a good idea to look after it in other ways. This includes:
- Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fibre, vegetables and fruit. Cut down on fatty, sugary, and salty foods and drinks.
- Cut down on or cut out alcohol. Your doctor will tell you if it is safe for you to drink alcohol and how much. The general advice is not to have more than 14 units a week and to have at least 3 days without alcohol in a row every week.
- Be physically active, doing something is better than nothing, even something small. As well as helping you keep to a healthy weight, being active is a good way to boost your mood and general health.
- Your liver processes all the medicines you take. Ask your doctor if there are any common medicines, like paracetamol, you should avoid or take less of at a time. Make sure doctors prescribing you a new medicine know you have hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is a long-term condition, so how you feel and what you need to know will probably change over time. Our information is designed so you can read as much as you like at a time. We check it regularly to keep it up to date. Be careful of information you find on the internet, check it is from a reliable source like the NHS or a well-known charity.
Sadly, most people know very little about hepatitis B and there is a lot of wrong information out there. It might help to share this page about hepatitis B myths if people tell you things that aren’t true.
For advice on dealing with hurtful comments or reactions, read our advice on coping with stigma.
Hold your head high, it is not your fault.
Amanda was diagnosed with hepatitis B in 2019. Read her story.
Published July 2023
Review due: July 2026