Hepatitis V is very infectious -approximately 100 times more infectious than HIV. Unlike HIV and hepatitis C, an effective vaccine is available that can prevent hepatitis B infection. The vaccination involves three injections administered over several weeks. You need to have the full course of vaccinations to be fully protected.
Universal vaccination is not currently in place but those who are more at risk would be eligible to receive the vaccine. These risk groups include:
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject drugs
- Pregnant women at risk of infection (e.g. injecting drug user partner)
- Babies of infected (‘carrier’) mothers
- Individuals who change sexual partners frequently
- Close family contacts of an individual with chronic hepatitis B infection
- Patients with chronic kidney disease requiring haemodialysis
- People with chronic liver disease
- Prisoners and prison staff
- Sex industry workers & their clients
- Travellers to countries of high prevalence
- Individuals at occupational risk – including all NHS staff and healthcare workers involved in Exposure-Prone Procedures
The vaccination will prevent hepatitis B infection but does not prevent against other blood borne viruses or STIs.