Hepatitis D Transmission
A person must already have hepatitis B in order to get hepatitis D. Once a person has an active hepatitis B infection, hepatitis D transmission can occur in a number of ways. Among the things that can spread the hepatitis D virus are having a tattoo or body piercing done with dirty tools that were used on someone else; sharing drugs, needles, or "works" when "shooting" drugs; and having sex with an infected person without using a condom. Regardless of how it occurs, spreading hepatitis D involves contact with bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or saliva.
An Overview of Hepatitis D TransmissionIn order for a person to get hepatitis D, he or she must have an active hepatitis B infection. This infection may occur at the same time that the hepatitis D virus is spread, or the person may already have hepatitis B. In either case, transmission of the hepatitis D virus (HDV) can occur in one of several ways. It can occur when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. Hepatitis D transmission can also occur through contact with other body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids, or saliva.
Some specific ways in which the hepatitis D virus can be spread include:
- By sharing drugs, needles, or "works" when "shooting" drugs
- Through needlesticks or "sharps" exposures on the job
- Having a tattoo or body piercing done with dirty tools that were used on someone else
- By sharing objects that may have a very tiny amount of blood on them, such as a toothbrush, razor, or tools used for manicures
- Through having sex with an infected person without using a condom (the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing infection with HDV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission)
- From an infected mother to her baby during birth (very rarely).