Hep B Blog

Tag Archives: chronic HBV

Preparing for College, Dating and Disclosing Hepatitis B

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When my daughter, who has chronic hepatitis B, packed for her freshman year of college, I peppered her with warnings about the need for standard precautions and condoms. I suggested wording for a future conversation where she would disclose her infection and negotiate safe sex with a potential partner.

I hoped these verbal dress rehearsals would empower and protect her, especially if that potential boyfriend turned her down. I wanted her to know that any rejection would not be about her or her hepatitis B, it would be about his fears. Continue reading "Preparing for College, Dating and Disclosing Hepatitis B"

Expert Calls for Viral Load Testing in All Pregnant Women with Hepatitis B

Dr. Ravi Jhaveri, an infectious disease specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, talks to parents.
Dr. Ravi Jhaveri, an infectious disease specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, talks to parents.

Today, all pregnant women are routinely screened for hepatitis B, but a growing number of doctors say this single test doesn’t go far enough to protect the health of women and children.

In a commentary published in the medical journal Pediatrics,  infectious disease specialist Dr. Ravi Jhaveri calls for a mandatory second test in pregnant women infected with hepatitis B. This test would measure the amount of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in her body (called viral load).

When women have high viral loads, their newborns can become infected even if they are immunized at birth and treated with HBIG (hepatitis B antibodies) to prevent infection. Continue reading "Expert Calls for Viral Load Testing in All Pregnant Women with Hepatitis B"

Know Your Rights: What College Students with Hep B Need to Know About Health Forms and Disclosure

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

This summer, students living with hepatitis B face a task that can be as stressful as SATs, entrance exams or writing college essays – completing their colleges’ health forms.

Some colleges and graduate schools require no medical information while others expect you to document in detail your allergies, immunizations, medical history and even undergo TB testing.

The good news is colleges want to make sure all students are vaccinated against hepatitis B, the bad news is the requirement can force students to disclose their hepatitis B infection. Here are some important things parents and students should know when filling out college health forms.

No school can deny you admission or treat you differently because you have hepatitis B. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disabilities, and that includes hepatitis B.

Continue reading "Know Your Rights: What College Students with Hep B Need to Know About Health Forms and Disclosure"

HBV Journal Review – November 2014

ChrisKHBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the
 latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:

  • Experts Say Breastfeeding While Taking Antivirals Is Safe
  • Doctors Fail to Adequately Treat HBV-Infected Women After Childbirth
  • Doctors Continue to Fail to Screen Asian-Americans for Hepatitis B
  • Statins Protect Hepatitis B Patients Against Heart Disease and Liver Cancer
  • New Study Finds Antivirals Lower Liver Cancer Risk
  • Studies Find Tenofovir Lowers Viral Load Faster Than Entecavir
  • Liver Transplants Safe in Older Hepatitis B Patients
  • Scientists Develop Micro Weapon to Disable HBV’s Cancer-Causing X Protein
  • Foreign-Born U.S. Residents Less Likely to Be Immunized
  • Antivirals Can Safely Replace HBIG Following Liver Transplantation
  • All Hepatitis B Patients Appear at Risk from Chemotherapy

Continue reading "HBV Journal Review – November 2014"

HBV Journal Review – October 2014

ChrisKHBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the
 latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:

  • Chronic Hepatitis B Remains Public Health Challenge in U.S.
  • Epidemiologists Become Molecular Detectives to Investigate HBV Outbreaks
  • Telbivudine Effectively Prevents Infection of Newborns Born to Infected Mothers
  • GGT Blood Test Reveals Fibrosis and Cirrhosis in Hepatitis B Patients
  • Early Research Combining Antivirals with a Protein “De-activator” Shows Promise
  • Diabetes Dramatically Increases Liver Cancer Risk in Cirrhotic Patients
  • Tenofovir Linked to Higher Rates of Bone Loss than Entecavir
  • Tenofovir Equally Effective against Hepatitis B in Asians and Non-Asians
  • Liver Cancer Risk Factors Do Vary Between Racial Groups
  • Even Liver Specialists Fail to Screen Chemotherapy Patients for Hepatitis B
  • European Study Confirms Coffee Dramatically Lowers Liver Cancer Risk

HBV Journal Review

October 1, 2014
Volume 11, Issue 10
by Christine M. Kukka

Chronic Hepatitis B Remains Public Health Challenge in U.S.

A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on hepatitis B prevalence finds that while new infections have declined markedly, treating chronic hepatitis B infection remains a public health challenge.

New hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections have plummeted since 1990 due to comprehensive immunizations. The CDC report estimates only 18,760 people were infected with HBV in 2012.

In 2012, the highest rates of new infections were among those aged 30–39 years (2.17 cases per 100,000 population), and the lowest were among children under age 19 who had been immunized at birth.

Many of the new infections were transmitted sexually or through injecting drug use.

However, an estimated 700,000 to 1.4 million U.S. residents are chronically infected. According to the report, Viral Hepatitis Surveillance United States, 2012, about half of those chronically infected were either born in Asia or were born to HBV-infected mothers in the United States.

In 2011, the death rate from chronic hepatitis B was 0.5 deaths per 100,000 population. The highest mortality rates were among people aged 55–64 years, Asian and Pacific Islander, and male.

“Identifying these chronically infected persons and linking them to care remains a challenge,” the authors reported.

Source: www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Statistics/

Epidemiologists Become Molecular Detectives to Investigate HBV Outbreaks

While new HBV infections have declined dramatically since the early 1990s due to effective immunizations, public health officials continue to examine where new infections are coming from and who is getting infected.

Read the HBV Journal Review in its entirety here. 


The World’s Second Deadliest Cancer Is …Preventable


Liver cancer is the world’s second leading cause of cancer deaths, according to the latest World Cancer Report 2014 released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). About 800,000 deaths per year are related to liver cancer. Continue reading "The World’s Second Deadliest Cancer Is …Preventable"

Checking In On Your Hepatitis B Related 2013 Resolutions

It’s week two of 2013.  How are your New Years’ Resolutions going?  When you were making your resolutions, did you consider hepatitis B specific New Year’s resolutions?  Here are a few ideas…

  • Organize your hepatitis B lab data and make a table with the date of the blood draw and the associated blood test results. You’ll want to start by requesting copies of all of your labs from your doctor. Then you can generate data tables using Excel, Word or a pencil and paper table for your charted data.  It will help you visualize your HBV over time, and you may find your doctor likes to see both the lab results and your table of results.
  • Generate a list of questions for your next appointment with your liver specialist.  People get nervous anticipating what their doctor might say about their health. It is very easy to forget those important questions, so be sure to write them down. If the option is available, have a family member or friend attend the appointment with you. That will allow you to pay closer attention while your friend or family member takes notes for you.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol. Hepatitis B and alcohol is a dangerous combination. An annual toast to the New Year? Sure. Drinking daily, weekly or even monthly? Not a good idea.  Binge drinking? Dangerous. A recent study shows an increased risk for liver cancer among cirrhotic patients with HBV. Don’t let it get that far. If you have HBV and you are still drinking alcohol, seek the help you need to stop.
  • Exercise. Many people think that having a chronic illness precludes them from exercise. This is rarely the case, but if you have concerns, talk to your doctor. If you consistently exercise, keep up the good work. If you don’t, please start slowly and work your way up to a more strenuous routine, and follow general physical activity guidelines for adults. Join a gym or find an exercise buddy. Don’t compare yourself to others and work at your own pace. Set realistic workout goals. You don’t need to run a marathon. Brisk, daily walking is great, too. You may find that you experience both physical and emotional benefits, and if you exercise with friends, you’ll also benefit socially. Clinical and experimental studies show that physical exercise helps prevent the progression of liver cancer and improves quality of life. Get moving. It’s good for your overall health and specifically your liver!
  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating a well-balanced diet. This is a favorite on the New Year’s Resolution list for just about everyone with or without HBV. You can’t prevent or cure HBV with a healthy diet, but it does help, and it helps prevent additional problems like the onset of fatty liver or diabetes. If you’ve been following trending health problems, then you are well aware that fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes are huge problems in the U.S. and are growing issues globally. Both fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes can often be prevented with a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you are overweight, or make unhealthy choices, make a commitment to change this year. Start by avoiding fast foods, and processed foods. Cut down on fatty foods. Reduce the amount of saturated fats, trans fats and hydrogenated fats in your diet. Saturated fats are found in deep fried foods, red meats and dairy products. Trans and hydrogenated fats are found in processed foods. The liver stores excess dietary fat, and which can eventually lead to fatty liver disease. A fatty liver slows down the digestion of fats. If you have hepatitis B, you want to avoid any additional complications that may arise with fatty liver disease. Diabetes and HBV together can also be very complicated.  Your doctor won’t mind if you try to avoid “white foods”, or foods that that are white in color and have been processed and refined. This includes foods like white flour, rice, pasta, bread, crackers, cereal, simple sugars and high fructose corn syrup.  (Feel free to eat plenty of white cauliflower, turnips, white beans, etc) Avoid sugary treats and drinks. So what should you eat? Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains and lean meats.  Go back to the basics! If you have specific questions about your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor.
  • Don’t worry, be happy… Easy to say, but not so easy to accomplish. Anxiety and depression associated with a chronic illness are challenging problems that may be short term, or can worm their way into nearly every aspect of your life. They can even create physical symptoms that may be confusing and may result in even more worry. Please talk to your doctor if you believe your anxiety or depression is something you are unable to manage on your own. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others facing the same challenges. Personally I found the Hepatitis B Information and Support List a wonderful source of information and support. Chronic illness can feel very lonely – especially with a disease like HBV that has a stigma associated with it. Find a trusted confident with whom you can share your story.

Diagnosed with Hepatitis B? Do You Need Treatment?

When people learn they are infected with hepatitis B, the first thing they want to know is “what can I take to get rid of this disease?” It can be complicated, and what can be even more difficult to understand is that during different stages of the disease there may be absolutely no benefit from currently available treatments.

Just diagnosed with HBV? Are you acute or chronic? 

First, if you have just been diagnosed with HBV, it is imperative that you determine if you have an acute or chronic infection. If you have an acute, or new infection, then it is important to know that very few people require any sort of treatment. Just be sure you are being monitored by your doctor, and take good care of your health and be sure to prevent transmission to others during this time.

Chronically infected, now what?

If your doctor determines you are chronically infected, then you will need additional information to determine what your next steps should be.

Remember that unless you display urgent symptoms, such as jaundice, or a bloated abdomen, or severe illness, you really can wait a few weeks, or even a few months, to see a liver specialist. Many people panic if they are unable to see a liver specialist immediately.  Relax, find a good doctor, learn what you can about hepatitis B, and take care while you wait.

How will you be evaluated?

Your liver specialist will do a complete work-up on you. He will perform a physical examination, get a complete medical history, and he will run additional blood tests to learn more about your hepatitis B status and your liver health. He may also get a baseline ultrasound or perform other diagnostic imaging procedures to gain more data so he can make a decision whether or not you would benefit from treatment at this time.  Some of the blood work may need to be repeated over a period of time before your doctor decides whether or not to move forward with treatment. Do not beg your doctor for treatment. Waiting and watching is sometimes the smartest thing to do.  Treatment is rarely an emergency. Time is on your side, so please be patient.

What can you do while you wait?

This is a good time to look at some of your personal lifestyle choices and consider some basic changes that might benefit you at this time. Avoid alcohol, and stop smoking. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean meats. Avoid fast and processed foods when possible. They may contain trans fats, partially hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup and other less desirable “ingredients”. Don’t’ forget to get everyone in the household screened and vaccinated against HBV if you have not already done so.

What’s next? Tune in next time to learn about some of your blood work…