Hep B

HIV, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C Information


Liverpool School of

Tropical Medicine

HIV, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C are infectious diseases spread through blood and bodily fluids.


Worldwide, HIV is most commonly acquired through sexual intercourse. Unscreened blood or blood products and reuse of needles are also a risk.

HIV is more common in many countries than it is in the UK.

In some countries up to 90% of prostitutes and 30% of the local population are infected. People with HIV infection do not usually look ill.

There is currently no vaccine against HIV.

HIV is not caught from mosquitoes bites or by normal social contact

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus causing inflammation of the liver. The virus can cause an acute illness lasting several weeks, which can sometimes lead to chronic infection. Liver cancer or cirrhosis can develop many years later.

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with contaminated blood and body fluids.

Transmission is similar to HIV infection but Hepatitis B is about 50-100 times more infectious.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection transmitted by contact with the blood, or less commonly, body fluids from an infected person.

The body’s immune system will remove the infection in approximately 25% of those infected and the person will be free of infection.

However 75% of those infected develop chronic Hepatitis C infection and associated cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

There is currently no vaccine against Hepatitis C

Routes of HIV, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C transmission include:

Those who have casual sex. They are also at risk of other sexually transmitted diseases such as Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Chlamydia.

Invasive medical procedures or injecting drugs using contaminated needles and equipment.

Infected blood transfusions and blood products.

Contact sport injuries

Travellers at increased risk include those:

Travelling for prolonged periods e.g. back-packers.

Intending to live in risk countries especially children.

At risk of occupational acquired infection e.g. nurses, doctors, lab workers.

Travelling to obtain medical care abroad.

Competing in contact sports.


Avoid unprotected sex. Use good quality condoms if appropriate. Buy before you travel and check for British Standards Kitemark.

Avoid unnecessary medical or dental treatment when travelling.

Avoid recreational drug use and sharing of needles, tattoos, body piercing and acupuncture – certain beauty treatments can also pose a risk.

Avoid sharing toothbrushes and razors.

Consider travelling with a medical kit containing sterile needles, syringes and suture material.

Remember excess alcohol can make you do things you might later regret.

Hepatitis B Vaccination vaccine schedules:

0, 1 and 2 months (infants require a further dose at 1 year)

Day 0, 7, 21 and 1 year (adults only, but may be considered from 16 years of age)

0, 1 and 6 months schedule

A booster at 5 years is recommended if at continued risk.