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Is It Possible to Transmit Hepatitis through Saliva?

Helen Akers
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Transmitting hepatitis through saliva is usually only possible with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A. In order for a person to contract Hepatitis C, there must be an exchange of blood. Hepatitis B is more commonly spread through saliva by means of kissing and oral sex. It is possible to transmit Hepatitis A through saliva if oral contact is made with a contaminated source. Symptoms of the three forms of the disease are very similar and damage to the infected person's liver may occur.

The act of spreading hepatitis through saliva is usually seen with Hepatitis B. This form is considered to be a sexually transmitted disease that can be transmitted through a variety of bodily fluids, including saliva. French kissing and oral sex are the most common ways it is spread through saliva. Hepatitis B is usually not spread through casual forms of kissing, where saliva is not exchanged.

Since Hepatitis B is usually transmitted through sexual contact, ways to avoid spreading this form of hepatitis through saliva include limiting the number of sex partners. The use of condoms or some form of protective barrier during all forms of sex is encouraged. It may also be helpful to know a potential sex partner's disease status before engaging in sexual activity.

Hepatitis A is the second form of the disease that can be spread through saliva. With this strain of the disease, contaminated food or fecal matter must somehow enter the person's body by means of oral contact. While the disease itself cannot spread or infect a person through an exchange of saliva, it often enters the bloodstream through this fluid. It may be difficult to determine whether a person has been infected with the Hepatitis A strain unless a blood test is performed.

Some forms of sexual contact may result in the transmission of the Hepatitis A virus through saliva. The probability of contracting the disease in this manner is higher with individuals who engage in oral-anal contact. Limiting or eliminating sexual contact of this nature can prevent the spread of this form of hepatitis through saliva.

Hepatitis C cannot be transmitted through saliva. This strain is usually only passed by exchanging infected blood between individuals. While some countries have screening practices in place to help prevent this type of occurrence, they are not always foolproof. Exchanging saliva by kissing a person with Hepatitis C does not result in the transmission of the virus.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Helen Akers
By Helen Akers
Helen Akers, a talented writer with a passion for making a difference, brings a unique perspective to her work. With a background in creative writing, she crafts compelling stories and content to inspire and challenge readers, showcasing her commitment to qualitative impact and service to others.
Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On May 13, 2014

The risk of transmitting hepatitis through saliva exists, but it's less than the risk of transmitting it through blood. Blood contains much higher concentrations of these viruses.

By fBoyle — On May 13, 2014

Hepatitis B isn't only transmitted through saliva. It's basically transmitted through all bodily fluids which includes saliva. But it can also be transmitted through vaginal discharges and semen. This is why condoms should always be used in sexual encounters and it's best to avoid oral sex or kissing.

Blood is another bodily fluid that may infect with hepatitis and we are at greater risk for infection than we realize. For example, it's possible to get hepatitis B from a tattoo or piercing. It's even possible to get it from something like nail clippers.

People who are traveling to less developed countries need to be careful in particular because hepatitis is more common in these countries.

By ZipLine — On May 12, 2014

There are so many diseases that partners can pass to each other through kissing. I'm surprised when I see or hear people being casually intimate with strangers. I understand that it's strange to ask people about their health before being intimate, but not asking is definitely dangerous. Some infections that occur through kissing or sex are treatable, but others stay for life. The latter is true for some hepatitis B patients. If you get it, you might carry it for life.

Helen Akers
Helen Akers
Helen Akers, a talented writer with a passion for making a difference, brings a unique perspective to her work. With a...
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