People who may be at risk of becoming infected from you

You need to inform people who may be at risk of acquiring hepatitis B from you so that they can be tested for immunity and vaccinated if necessary. This includes everyone living with you and any sexual partners. If a sexual partner requires vaccination, intimate contact should be delayed until the vaccination has "taken."

Surgeons who operate on you

Surgeons who operate on you should be told that you have hepatitis B, as well as anyone else who might come into contact with your blood or body fluids. For example, if you are a professional wrestler, your opponent should know. If you are a surgeon, your patients should know. Nor should you donate blood at a blood bank. However, if you are an accountant, you do not need to inform your office colleagues.

The degree of risk of transmitting the infection is directly related to the chances that your blood and body fluids from you will be exposed to the other person's mucous membranes or blood. If you have questions about this, you should ask your doctor. One of the key situations in which exposure of blood and body fluids is likely is during childbirth. If you are having a baby, the infant can be protected in most cases by vaccination at birth, followed by subsequent vaccinations under the doctor's care.

Stephen Sacks, MD 
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team