What is Hepatitis D?

Hepatitis D is a liver infection you can get if you have hepatitis B. It can cause serious symptoms that can lead to lifelong liver damage and even death. It’s sometimes called hepatitis delta virus (HDV) or delta hepatitis. Although it isn’t common in the United States, HDV is the most severe form of hepatitis.

Symptoms of Hepatitis D

The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis D can include:

  1. Jaundice
  2. Stomach upset
  3. Pain in your belly
  4. Throwing up
  5. Fatigue
  6. Not feeling hungry
  7. Joint pain
  8. Dark urine
  9. Light-colored stool

If you already have hepatitis B, HDV can make your symptoms worse.

Hepatitis D Causes

You can get HDV if you come into contact with the blood or other body fluid of someone who’s sick with it. Yet it can infect you only if you have hepatitis B. HDV needs the “B” strain of hepatitis to survive.

This can happen two ways:

  • Co-infection: You can contract HBV and HDV at the same time
  • Super-infection: You can get sick with hepatitis B first, then later come down with HDV. This is the most common way to get hepatitis D.


Risk Factors

Your odds of getting HDV to go up if you:

  • Have hepatitis B
  • Inject drugs
  • Have sex with someone who has hepatitis B or D
  • Have HIV and hepatitis B
  • Are a man who has sex with other men


  • Have sex with someone who has the virus. And Share needles used to inject drugs
  • Touch the open sores of someone who has the virus.
  • Get a needle stick that was in contact with an infected person.
  • Share personal items like razors or toothbrushes that may have touched an infected person’s blood.

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