Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a blood borne virus (BBV) which mainly affects the liver. Left undiagnosed, the liver can become damaged and have difficulty carrying out its vital functions.

Hepatitis B (also known as hep B or HBV) is the most infectious blood borne virus and is approximately 100 times more infectious than HIV.

Hepatitis B is the most widespread form of hepatitis worldwide. It is common in South East Asia, the Indian sub continent, the Middle and Far East, Southern Europe and Africa.

Scotland has historically been a country of low prevalence of hepatitis B; however, it has become evident that the number of people living with chronic hepatitis B infection has increased considerably.


Hepatitis B is known as a blood borne virus and can be spread via contact with infected blood, however the virus is also present in varying levels in other body fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. A tiny drop of blood from someone who has the virus can pass on the infection if it gets into the bloodstream of an uninfected person via one of the transmission routes as explained in the “Transmission” section on this page.