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Diagnosis & Management

Chronic HBV Infections

The risk of developing a chronic hepatitis B infection is directly related to the age at which one becomes infected with the virus:

  • 90% of infants exposed to the hepatitis B virus will develop chronic hepatitis B infections
  • Up to 50% of young children exposed to the hepatitis B virus between the ages of 1 and 5 years will develop chronic infections
  • 5 - 10% of healthy adults who are infected will develop chronic infection

Diagnosis of Chronic Hepatitis B

People who test positive for the hepatitis B virus (HBsAg) for more than six months are diagnosed as having a chronic infection. This means they were not able to get rid of the virus and it still remains in their liver and blood. Since chronically infected individuals can pass the virus on, they should follow safe sex practices and avoid spreading their blood to others. Sex partners and close family/household members should be screened and vaccinated.

Being diagnosed as having hepatitis B can be upsetting,but the good news is that most people with chronic hepatitis B should expect to live a long and healthy life. Altough there is an increased risk for developing serious liver disease later in life, there are also several treatments available that can slow down the virus.

Read more about Managing Chronic HBV.

The future is bright for all those living with chronic hepatitis B and a cure is on the near horizon. Approved and experimental treatments exist for chronic hepatitis B. Visit our HBF Drug Watch

and Hepatitis B Clinical Trial
pages for more information.

To find a liver specialist in your area, visit the HBF Directory of Liver Specialists. If you would like to recommend a liver specialist, please contact us.

We also have a glossary to help you to understand the terms used in diagnosing and treating hepatitis B.

Page reviewed March 2014

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