Normally, it is your choice whether or not to tell people if you have hepatitis B. This includes doctors, dentists, and tattoo and piercing parlours. These places are required to have infection control measures in place for all patients or clients so they should not need to make any changes.

You should consider telling your partner, family and people you live with, so they can get tested for hepatitis B. If they don’t have it, they can get vaccinated to be protected against hepatitis B..

There are a few cases where you are required by law to disclose that you have hepatitis B. These are:

  • before donating blood at the blood bank, as you cannot donate blood if you have hep B. If you have previously had acute hepatitis B, but you did not develop chronic hepatitis B, you need to wait at least 12 months after clearing it and let the blood bank know.
  • when applying for life insurance policies and other types of insurance where pre-existing health conditions may impact the insurance company’s decision
  • members of the Australian Defence Force, including Navy, Army and Air Forces
  • health care workers who perform exposure prone procedures, meaning they could come into contact with sharp instruments or tissues (e.g. spicules of bone or teeth) inside a person’s body. Most health care workers do not perform EPPs. For more information, you can read the guidelines on the Department of Health website.
  • when applying for a visa to live in Australia. You should answer all questions in visa application forms honestly. There are some cases where you may have to have a hep B test if you are applying to live in Australia.

If you wish to donate organs or sperm, you will be tested for hepatitis B. You may still be able to donate, though this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


References

ASHM. (2019). What is hepatitis B. Retrieved from All Good.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service. (n.d.). I had hepatitis - can I donate?

Department of Health. (2018, December). Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses


Updated 2 December 2019