Hep B Blog

Category Archives: Hepatitis Awareness Month

Happy Hepatitis Testing Day

May 19th is national Hepatitis Testing Day! Today we raise awareness about viral hepatitis and encourage people to know their status. More than half of the people living with viral hepatitis in the U.S. do not know their status, so if you do not know your status, get tested!

Since 2013, the United States has officially observed May 19th as Hepatitis Testing Day. With over 2.4 million people living with chronic hepatitis B in the United States and 300 million people living with it globally, it is so important to know your status! Additionally, hepatitis B is known as a “silent infection” which means that you do not know you have the disease until it has done major damage to your liver. Luckily, with hepatitis B testing, you can find out your status and take control of your health!

Hepatitis B Testing

The hepatitis B test is a simple blood test that can be done at your doctor’s office or local care clinic. The hepatitis B blood test requires only one sample of blood and your health care provider should order the “Hepatitis B Panel,” which includes three parts. You and your health care provider will need to know all three test results in order to fully understand whether you are infected, protected or still at risk for a hepatitis B infection. Remember to ask for a copy of your hepatitis B blood test results so that you fully understand which tests are positive or negative.

Interpreting Results

Your results should include HBsAg (hepatitis B surface antigen), HBsAb (hepatitis B surface antibody), and HBcAb (hepatitis B core antibody). Below is a chart to help you interpret your results!

Newly Diagnosed

Here are some next steps if you have received your test results and tested positive for hepatitis B. The first thing you should know is that you can live a long and healthy life.

Next Steps:

  1. Understand your diagnosis. Do you have an acute or chronic infection? When someone is first infected with hepatitis B, it is considered an acute infection. Most healthy adults who are acutely infected are able to get rid of the virus on their own. If you continue to test positive for hepatitis B after 6 months, it is considered a chronic infection. Knowing whether your hepatitis B is acute or chronic will help you and your doctor determine your next steps. If you are unsure of what your blood test results mean, you may find Understanding Your Blood Tests helpful.
  2. Prevent the Spread to Others. Hepatitis B can be transmitted to others through blood and bodily fluids, but there is a safe and effective vaccine that can protect your loved ones from hepatitis B. You should also be aware of how to protect your loved ones to avoid passing the infection to family and household members and sexual partners.
  3. Find a Physician. If you have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, it is important to find a doctor that has expertise in treating liver disease. We maintain a searchable physician directory database to help you find a liver specialist near you.
  4. Educate Yourself. Get the facts about hepatitis B, including what it is, who gets it, and possible symptoms, starting with What is Hepatitis B.
  5. Seek Support. It might be helpful to you if you seek community support. You can join Hep B Community, an online global forum dedicated to supporting people affected by hepatitis B. The Hepatitis B Foundation also lists more support groups you can check out here .

 

Author: Evangeline Wang

Contact Information: info@hepb.org

Hepatitis B Discrimination Registry

 

Despite almost 300 million people living globally with the world’s most common liver infection, hepatitis B remains stigmatized and those living with it can still face discrimination from various sources. Each year, the Hepatitis B Foundation answers numerous calls from around the world from people who have faced school, workplace, and travel challenges due to their hepatitis B status. These challenges are typically rooted in misinformation, outdated laws or guidelines, stigma, and an overall lack of awareness.

The Hepatitis B Foundation has been a longtime advocate of people living with hepatitis B. In fact, our advocacy successfully made hepatitis B a protected condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States. We also support programs to fight discrimination faced by people living with hepatitis B when applying to schools, jobs, or accessing affordable medicine.

We also compiled a report called “Health Insurance Costs Impacting Shoppers Living with Hepatitis B (2020) to help people living with hepatitis B in the U.S. make informed decisions when choosing a health insurance plan. It can also be shared with policymakers to inform them of potentially discriminatory benefit plan designs in various states.

Most recently, Hepatitis B Foundation is excited to announce the launch of our discrimination registry! The purpose of this registry is to document and track discrimination related to hepatitis B.  Hepatitis B discrimination is described as unjust, unfair, or prejudicial treatment of persons on the basis of their hepatitis B status. In other words, being treated differently because of one’s hepatitis B infection. For someone with hepatitis B, this can mean exclusion, denying benefits, denied employment, education, training, goods or services, or having significant burdens imposed on an individual due to their infection status.

How to Share Your Experience

Use the registry link here and fill out the questions accordingly.

  1.  In the first section, we ask about your demographics which you can always select prefer not to answer for any of the questions.
  2. In the second section, we ask about your hepatitis B discrimination experience. In the third section, we offer additional support.
  3.  If you are located in the United States and are experiencing discrimination due to your hepatitis B status we can assist you to file a claim with the Department of Justice.

Other Discrimination Resources

Check out our Know Your Rights page. This page will help guide you through steps if you are experiencing discrimination in various institutional settings.

We have sections for:

  1. U.S. Schools and Education
  2. U.S. Employment
  3. U.S. Military
  4. U.S. Access to Medication
  5. Immigrant and International Issues

If you have any questions or concerns please email discrimination@hepb.org

Author: Evangeline Wang

Contact Information: info@hepb.org

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month!

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month! This month, we bring awareness to the public health impact of viral hepatitis in the U.S., and the health consequences of hepatitis B and C infections if left untreated.

Globally, hepatitis B virus (HBV) affects 2 billion people and in the U.S. an estimated 2.4 million people are living with a chronic hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis B is often called the “silent killer”, as people often do not realize they are infected with hepatitis B until their liver is severely damaged, which makes it vital that the month of May is dedicated to raising awareness of hepatitis B. Because chronic hepatitis B infection is the most common risk factor for liver cancer, it is critical that we improve awareness on how to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis B. Individuals chronically infected with hepatitis B have a 25% to 40% lifetime risk of developing liver cancer. However, it is important to note that with proper testing and treatment, people living with hepatitis B can reduce that risk and live a long and happy life.

This month we look forward to encouraging all adults in the U.S. to get tested for hepatitis B with a simple blood test, and get vaccinated with a safe and effective vaccine if they are not yet protected or infected.  Thank you for helping us bring awareness to hepatitis B this May!

Resources For Patients

The Hepatitis B Foundation has multiple resources for patients you might not be aware of. Below is a small list you should check out!

  • Hep B Community
    • A new global online support group.
  • Physician Directory
    • Find knowledgeable doctors! The Hepatitis B Foundation has created a directory of liver specialists to help those seeking qualified medical care. The specialists have agreed to be included in this directory and treat chronic hepatitis B and/or liver cancer and are willing to be contacted for further information.
  • B Heppy
    • A podcast discussing all things hepatitis B-related. Our first episode discusses the COVID-19 vaccine and people living with hepatitis B.
  • Liver Q’s Video Series on Hepatitis B
    • These short video clips answer some frequently asked questions about hepatitis B.
  • Clinical Trial Locator
    • Volunteering for a clinical trial program can be very valuable. Expensive blood work, treatment medications, and doctor’s visits are usually provided free of charge for those accepted into a study. Clinical trials also provide the opportunity to potentially benefit from the latest advances in medical science.

Check out our website for more!

Resources For Providers

  • CDC’s Hepatitis Awareness Month Social Media Toolkit
  • Hep B United’s and CDC’s Know Hepatitis B Social Media Templates
    • The Know Hepatitis B campaign provides translations in multiple languages like Arabic, Amharic, French, and Swahili, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
  • Hep B United Philadelphia’s Provider ECHO
    • The goal of the Hepatitis B ECHO is to expand provider capacity at the primary care level to diagnose, treat and manage hepatitis B. Each ECHO session will include one case discussion and a 15-minute didactic aimed to empower providers to manage hepatitis B.
  • Webinar: Educational Resources for African Communities
    • Panelists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the African Services Committee will discuss Know Hepatitis B campaign resources for community health workers working within African communities and community-based hepatitis B prevention initiatives. Additionally, hepatitis B activist and storyteller Bright Ansah will share his personal experiences with hepatitis B and highlight the need for greater awareness, education, and resources about hepatitis B in African communities.

Join Hepatitis Partners for a Twitter Chat on May 19th, #HepTestingDay!

Join HepBUnited, NASTAD, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis for a Twitter Chat on Hepatitis Testing Day, May 19th at 2 P.M. EDT.  The chat will highlight hepatitis events and allow partner organizations to share their successes, challenges and lessons learned from their efforts, particularly during this unique time. Partners will also highlight innovative strategies for outreach during COVID-19. This twitter chat serves to keep us all informed, raise awareness and share messaging. All are encouraged to join the twitter chat conversation with the hashtag #HepChat20, and to keep partners posted throughout the month about events and messaging with the hashtag #HepAware2020.

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