Hepatitis D can be transmitted the same way as hepatitis B, through exposure to infected blood or body fluids. Hepatitis D cannot be contracted on its own, so only people who already have hepatitis B or people at risk of contracting both viruses at the same time are at risk. 

Hepatitis B and D can be transmitted:

Website transmission graphic 1

Through direct contact with infected blood or sexual fluids:

  • From an infected woman to her newborn during pregnancy and childbirth (although hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted this way, hepatitis D transmission is thought to be uncommon)
  • Household contact with blood (sharing hygiene equipment such as razors, toothbrushes or earrings)
  • Tattoos, piercings, barbers, scarfiication, circumcision practices that may contain infected blood
  • Unsterile healthcare practices (medical/dental equipments or procedures that are contaminated or not sterile)
  • Sharing needles or use of illegal or “street” drugs
  • Unprotected sex (sex without a condom)

High-Risk Groups for Hepatitis D:

  • People living in or emigrating from countries where hepatitis D is more common (Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Pakistan, India, the Middle East, Georgia, Turkey, Pakistan, West and Central Africa, and the Amazonian river basin)
  • People who use illegal or "street" drugs
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with many sexual partners
  • People who frequently interact with medical systems; hemodialysis patients, blood transfusion recipients, those who may have gotten a medical procedure or surgery in a country where unsterile medical equipment may be used