Hepatitis B: Should I get vaccinated?
In most adults, an acute hepatitis B infection will usually clear up on its own, without treatment. If it becomes chronic, though, it can have serious consequences. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B. It is recommended for all babies and toddlers, as well as for adults who have a high risk of becoming infected.
The hepatitis B virus is mainly spread through blood, but also through other body fluids. This usually happens during unprotected sex – most commonly between men who have sex with other men. Having several sexual partners and recurring sexual STIs (sexually transmitted infections) can increase the risk of getting hepatitis B too. Other routes of infection include using non-sterile syringes when injecting drugs or having a tattoo done with non-sterile needles. The likelihood of becoming infected is generally quite low in countries like Germany, though.
If a pregnant woman has hepatitis B, she might pass it on to her baby while giving birth. In Germany and other countries, pregnant women are offered a hepatitis B test to see whether they are infected.