03 9418 9929 enquiries@ceh.org.au

What are Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs)?

Blood borne viruses are types of germs that live and reproduce within people’s blood. 


Blood borne viruses can also be found in:

  • Sexual fluids, like from the vagina, penis or anus
  • Breast milk

Some people with blood borne viruses may feel well for many years before the virus affects their health, but they can still pass on the virus to other people, even if they feel well. Blood borne viruses can be passed on to other people through blood to blood contact, and sexual contact.  To reduce the risk of passing on a blood borne virus or from getting a blood borne virus, it is important to always use condoms or dams and lubricant when having any kind of sex, and to never share sharp objects like needles (from tattoos or injecting drugs) or razors, or personal hygiene items like toothbrushes.


Different blood borne viruses affect your body in different ways, the most common blood borne viruses are:

  • Hepatitis B, which can cause liver damage and liver cancer
  • Hepatitis C, which can cause liver damage and liver cancer
  • HIV, which can make your immune system weak to other infections.

Hepatitis B and HIV are treatable, but cannot be cured.  It is possible to cure most Hepatitis C infections with a course of medication.  The earlier your doctor knows if you have a blood borne virus, the better your health outcomes can be.  It is therefore important to ask your doctor to test you for blood borne viruses.

Related Information

Position Paper- Deed Policy Revisions

Policy recommendations for revisions to the DEED governing health insurance for international students in Australia, particularly with regards to pregnancy-related coverage and sexually transmitted infections.
read more

Introducing SHARE – Sexuality Education in Comics

To celebrate youth week this year, the Multicultural Sexual Health Network (MSHN) held a forum to share knowledge and tools to provide quality sexual health and healthy relationships education to young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. We also launched our new resource, SHARE.
read more

Multicultural Health and Support Service – Annual Report 2014 – 2015

Find out more about the activities of Multicultural Health & Support Service (MHSS), a program which works with refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and mobile populations in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to prevent new incidences and transmission of blood borne viruses (BBV) and sexually transmissible infections (STI).
read more