Contact sport / martial arts and hepatitis B


Is recreational (not professional) doing contact sports and martial arts (for example bjj) ruled out when you are a hep B carrier? I don’t want to pose risk to other people.
@ThomasTu, you mentioned you do boxing. @PuallyHBV, I’ve noticed that you did some martial arts.

Under which conditions is it ok to participate in these activities? I searched in the web but I found contradictory information.

I may add that – judging by the experience of people who do martial arts – it often happens that they find a stains of fresh blood on their sport apparel after each session which means the break of skin occurs unnoticeably, which means it’s difficult to prevent, and there’s potential risk of transmission.

Hi @Arb

Generally in Australia, having Hep B and playing contact sports recreationally should not be a problem as players tend not to suffer open wounds in casual workout sessions.

Hep B and other BBVs are more of a concern for competition matches when injuries are likely to happen. Hence, competition players take a blood test a week before their match.

Have a read of this article about contact sports and Hep B
Mak, L. Y., Beasley, I., & Kennedy, P. T. F. (2022). Chronic Viral Hepatitis in Elite Athletes: Approaches to Risk Assessment, Prevention and Management. Sports medicine - open, 8(1), 123.

A few takeaways from the article are to use prevention measures such as,

  • Wearing protective gear
  • Wound management
  • No sharing for razors, toothbrushes or water bottles (in case you have any oral cuts).
  • Properly sanitising the environment after use with disinfectant chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol.

In addition, I would recommend maintaining short nails (to prevent cuts on you or your sports partner). And of course, living a healthy lifestyle and listening to your health practitioner’s advice.

As for the Reddit post you shared, I found some posts quite degrading. I would not recommend Reddit as it has a reputation for being an aggressive environment with opinions not supported by facts.

Ultimately, I believe this is up to you. However, you should not feel apprehensive about leading your own life and in no way discriminated against diagnosis. If you would like, you can give these sports a try and see how you feel.

All the best,


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Hi @Arb,

Great questions and indeed it is a tricky minefield. I essentially agree with everything @Sumaya has mentioned and that with a low viral load the risk is negligible regarding transmission.

Also, I do realise this becomes a difficult topic to raise, but it’d probably be the first call to raise it with the gym manager first and whether they are OK with you training there.

The thread you linked to is 9 years old, and hopefully we have moved on a little regarding stigma. However, the attitudes of society don’t move evenly or necessarily quickly.

Regarding the boxing I do now, it is only padwork, not really contact at all, so open wounds are incredibly rare.

Sorry that there is no hard and fast rule about this.