B Positive: Hepatitis B for primary care
A guide for primary care providers
The third edition of B positive goes totally online with a new improved website. Since the last edition in 2014 there has been an increased global focus on elimination of Hepatitis B as a public health concern by the year 2030 with targets set by the World Health Assembly member states, including Australia, to diagnose and treat the 250 million people living with hepatitis B worldwide.
For the 230,000 Australians living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) 2 out of every 5 remain undiagnosed (see: Prevalence and epidemiology of hepatitis B) and of those diagnosed only a third are accessing regular tests that are required to monitor changes, guide initiation of antiviral therapy (see: Treatment of chronic hepatitis B), prevent cancer and ensure early detection of hepatocellular cancer (HCC) (see: hepatitis B related hepatocellular carcinoma). To improve the health of people living with CHB in Australia and reach the goals proposed globally and in Australia by 2030, primary care clinicians need to be informed, active in diagnosis, initial assessment (Clinical assessment of HBV), chronic disease management, treatment and appropriate and timely referral to specialist services for people with cirrhosis (see: advanced liver disease).
There is increasing community awareness of the importance of testing and vaccination (see: primary prevention) in priority communities and exciting momentum and research investment in finding a cure for CHB (see: Virology). There have been policy changes to allow general practitioners to prescribe antiviral therapy under the S100 program. We hope this updated addition becomes a valued resource and welcome your feedback.
Nicole Allard and Gail Mathews