Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a potentially serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis of the liver (advanced liver scaring and damage), liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person infected with hepatitis B enter the body of someone who is not infected – even from contact with open sores of an infected person. The good news is that a safe, effective vaccine can prevent the infection! This vaccine has been around for over 40 years. It is so safe and effective that globally the recommendation is to receive the first vaccine immediately after birth. Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups.

For people who became infected before they had the chance to be vaccinated, there are safe, well-tolerated medications (pills) that can delay the progression to cirrhosis and liver failure, reduce the possibility of developing liver cancer, and help people live long, healthy lives. Monitoring the liver over time and getting screened for liver cancer with a belly ultrasound also helps. Most people with hepatitis B infection do not feel anything for many years, are unaware of their infection, and will not know they are infected until they are tested. Without testing, people with hepatitis B can unknowingly transmit the virus to others. The CDC recommends all adults 18 and older and those with a history of increased risk get screened for hepatitis B.  

Get Tested! It can save your life! 

 

FAQ

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Who will treat my Hepatitis B if I am infected? 

We have a hepatitis B specialist physician onsite who can collaborate with your primary care provider.

What are my treatment options?

You will have an initial visit with our hepatitis B specialist physician. You will need to have your blood drawn so she can learn about your liver. Based on your unique health status — including whether you have cirrhosis, what medical conditions you have and what your hepatitis B blood tests show — you may be treated with daily pills or monitored every 6 months to see if your hepatitis B progresses to the point at which medications are needed. We aim to help you keep your liver as healthy as possible and make the experience as easy as possible.

What if I am using drugs and/or alcohol?

In keeping with national and global standards of care, we are here to help you with your liver health. Our specialist has had a lot of training and experience in helping people who use drugs and/or alcohol. Whether or not you are using drugs and/or alcohol, we are here to care for your hepatitis B.

What about Hepatitis D?

If you have hepatitis B, we will screen you for another kind of liver infection, hepatitis D. If we do not have hepatitis B, we cannot catch hepatitis D. It can be harder for the liver to have hepatitis D on top of hepatitis B, so in most cases people with both infections are treated with medications.

If you would like to get screened, evaluated and/or treated, please call our office or speak with your primary care provider for a consultation