Join Michaela Jackson for A Day in the Life of a Public Health Coordinator to learn about why the annual Hep B United Summit is important!
In this episode, some of the Hep B United coalition partners explain why some of the leaders in the hepatitis B world gather in Washington D.C. each year. The Summit took place from July 24th – July 26th, 2018.
Have you recently been told you have hepatitis B? Dealing with the diagnosis and waiting out the next six months to determine if your infection will resolve itself or learning that it is a chronic infection can be nerve-wracking.
Fortunately, greater than 90 percent of healthy adults who are newly infected will clear or resolve an acute hepatitis B infection. On the hand, greater than 90% of babies and up to 50% of children infected with hepatitis B will have lifelong, chronic infection. Sometimes people are surprised to learn they have a chronic infection. It can be confusing since there are typically few or no symptoms for decades. If a person continues to test hepatitis B positive for longer than 6 months, then it is considered a chronic infection. Repeat testing is the only way to know for sure.
Acute hepatitis B patients rarely require hospitalization, or even medication. If you are symptomatic, (some symptoms include jaundice, dark urine, abdominal pain, fever, general malaise) you may be anxiously conferring with your doctor, but if you are asymptomatic, you might not feel compelled to take the diagnosis seriously. Ignoring your diagnosis can be very serious. If you have concerning symptoms like jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), a bloated abdomen or severe nausea and vomiting, please see your doctor immediately. Your doctor will be monitoring your blood work over the next few months to see if you clear the virus, or monitoring your liver if there are concerning symptoms.
Your job is to start loving your liver …today. STOP drinking alcoholic beverages. Refrain from smoking cigarettes. Your liver is a non-complaining organ, but you cannot live without it. Make your diet liver-friendly and healthy filled with a rainbow of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish and lean meats. Minimize processed foods, saturated fats and sugar. Drink plenty of water.
Talk to your doctor before taking prescription medications, herbal remedies, supplements or over-the-counter drugs. Some can be dangerous to a liver that is battling hepatitis B. Get plenty of rest, and exercise if you are able.
Don’t forget that you are infectious during this time, and that loved ones, sexual partners and household contacts should be tested to see if they need to be vaccinated to protect against hepatitis B. Sometimes family members or close household contacts may find that they have a current infection or have recovered from a past HBV infection. If anyone fears exposure, ensure them that hepatitis B is not transmitted casually. They should get tested, and vaccinated if needed, and take simple precautions. Remind them that 1/3 of the world’s population will be infected with the hepatitis B virus during their lifetime.
On the flip-side… Do not let this new hepatitis B diagnosis consume you. As the weeks and months pass, you might find that the infection is not resolving, and you might worry that you have a chronic infection. The associated stress and anxiety can be challenging, even overwhelming. It can contribute to physical symptoms you may be experiencing. Find a family member, friend, or health care professional with whom you can share your concerns.
If you are told you have recovered from an acute HBV infection (you are now HBsAg negative, HBcAb positive and HBsAb positive) be sure to get copies of your lab reports to ensure there are no mistakes. Compare them with our easy to use blood tests chart. If something looks wrong, or if you’re confused, speak up and ask your doctor. Once confirmed, be sure to include hepatitis B as part of your personal health history. This is important in case you have conditions requiring treatment later in life that might once again warrant monitoring of your hepatitis B. It is possible for a past HBV infection to reactivate if a person requires longterm immune suppressing drugs .
No one wants to learn they have chronic hepatitis B but it is a manageable disease. You’ll want to see a doctor with experience treating chronic HBV so they can run additional tests. There are very effective treatments available, though not everyone with chronic HBV needs treatment. All people living with chronic HBV benefit from regular monitoring since things can change with time. Please do not panic or ignore a chronic hepatitis B diagnosis. Take a deep breath and get started today learning more about your HBV infection and the health of your liver. Things are going to be okay!
If you are confused about your diagnosis, please feel free to contact the Hepatitis B Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hepatitis Awareness Month is dedicated to increasing awareness of hepatitis in the United States and to encourage high risk populations to get tested. If you’re not sure how you can get involved in the hepatitis B community this month, here are some ways you can!
Share and spread hepatitis B knowledge. CDC’s Know Hepatitis B Campaign is a great resource to learn more about hepatitis B and to promote testing in your area! They also have great posters, handouts, and videos available in different languages including Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, French, and more! You can also look for some of the Hepatitis B Foundation’s fact sheets and #justB storytelling campaign videos.
Join or organize a screening event. May 19th is National Hepatitis Testing Day! Organizations around the country will provide viral hepatitis screenings – both hep B and C! Be sure to look for some Hep B United partners’ websites for screenings in your local area, especially if you’re interested in volunteering.
Organize or join a flash mob to increase awareness! With our local hepatitis B campaign in Philadelphia, Hep B United Philadelphia, we held a “B A Hero Flash Mob” in the past. It is a great way to open the discussion about hepatitis B in an engaging and fun way!
Become an HBV advocate! You can join our Hep B United Action Center to get all the updates on our advocacy efforts. You can also share your hepatitis B knowledge on social media too!
Join the #HepAware Thunderclap. You can easily share and show your support for CDC Hepatitis’s efforts by joining their Thunderclap by May 19th, Hepatitis Testing Day. You can use Facebook, a Facebook page you manage, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Join our international #HepBeLIeVER Social Media Contest. Not only will you be spreading hepatitis B awareness, but you can also get a chance to WIN a $50 AMAZON GIFTCARD and other Hepatitis B Foundation swag. All you have to do is take a picture loving your liver and upload it to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with #HepBeLIeVER. More information here.
Welcome to “Journey to the Cure.” This is a web series that chronicles the progress at the Hepatitis B Foundation and Baruch S. Blumberg Institute towards finding the cure for hepatitis B.
In the second episode (part 2), Kristine Alarcon, MPH sits down with Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, Vice President of Public Health Programs of the Hepatitis B Foundation, to talk about public health research at the Hepatitis B Foundation.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this audio post is not intended to serve as medical advice of endorsement of any product. The Hepatitis B Foundation strongly recommends each person discuss this information and their questions with a qualified health care provider.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH and Samantha Young
Modern – iMovie Library Collection
Welcome to Journey to the Cure! Every month, we’ll sit down with scientists from the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute to talk to you about hepatitis B and efforts to find a cure for hepatitis B. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re here to walk you through our journey.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH:
In our last episode, Dr. Block was talking about how the Hep B Foundation is dedicated to public health research. Can you tell us more about that?
Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH: One of our major goals is to get everyone in the United States – or in the world really – but primarily in the US, everyone who has hepatitis B should be aware of their diagnosis and should be able to access to care. In order to do that, we have to do research. We have to figure out what are the best ways to get people tested and into care. In order to do that, we have to first figure out why people aren’t getting tested now, what barriers are people facing, what challenges are people facing to get tested, and how can we help them overcome those challenges. Every time we do a public health program, we are also doing research, so we are collecting a lot of data. And then, we use the data to develop new programs, and we share it with others as well. We also collect information and data on prevalence, so looking at where some of the high risk and highly impacted communities are in the U.S. We will do testing ourselves. We’ll go into communities in Philadelphia, and we’ll do hepatitis B testing. Through that, we know which communities need more care.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH: What types of public health programs are you carrying out right now?
Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH: We have a number of different programs right now. One is our Hep B United Philadelphia program, where we like to train the trainers. In Philadelphia, we’re training people who do health education; we’re training community leaders; and we’re helping them to learn about hep B, so that that they can go into high risk communities and teach other people about hep B. We’re also screening a lot of people. This year, we screened a little over 200 people for hepatitis B. When we find people to be infected, we link them into care. We’re also working on a new project, looking at the challenges that African immigrants face in the US in terms of hepatitis B testing. We’re trying to figure out what are the best ways to overcome those challenges and what are the best ways to get people tested and into care. And then, we have our #justB program, which is our national patient storytelling program, where people who have hep B or with family members who have hep B tell their stories and make videos, and they share how hep B has impacted their lives.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH: Thank you so much for joining us in this episode!
Welcome to “Journey to the Cure” This is a web series that chronicles the progress at the Hepatitis B Foundation and Baruch S. Blumberg Institute towards finding the cure for hepatitis B.
In the first episode (part 2), Kristine Alarcon, MPH sits down with Timothy Block, PhD, President and Co-Founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation, to talk about what a hepatitis B cure could look like in the future.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this audio post is not intended to serve as medical advice or endorsement of any product. The Hepatitis B Foundation strongly recommends each person discuss this information and their questions with a qualified health care provider.
Timothy Block, PhD:
The Hepatitis B Foundation is now largely devoted to basically outreach and what I call human services or being there for people. We wanted, however, to keep pressure on research communities – to make sure there was a research organization. The Hepatitis B Foundation created a second non-profit organization, originally called the IHVR, renamed in Dr. Blumberg’s honor after he passed away; and that’s the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. And that’s a group of research scientists.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH:
What do we need in order to find a cure for hepatitis B?
Timothy Block, PhD:
Well, we need more research. We need focused research and the community’s kind of coming together with a consensus. The Hepatitis B Foundation organized that workshop, which we published research priorities. We call it the “Roadmap to a Cure.” The more scholarly, conservative title for that is a research agenda- research priorities. We believe that if you follow that roadmap or you follow those lists, we will be most likely- I don’t want promise anything- but we will most likely to find if not a cure, transformational new medicines. But, I’m hopeful that they’ll be one form of cure. So you follow that roadmap, and we should get there.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH: Thank you so much. This has been very insightful on what it looks like for the cure in the future. Thank you again for joining us.
Timothy Block, PhD:
Thank you again so much for the opportunity and what I want the listeners to know that the Hepatitis B Foundation is at the forefront of this work. We were there 27 years ago. We were there through the times when hepatitis B was being forgotten. The cure for hepatitis C has brought new focus on the problem of hepatitis and we were- and we’re here now. We’re sitting in an office that is in a building that has the Hepatitis B Foundation outreach and advocacy staff of nurses and public health professionals. We’re also here with as I said with 100 scientists, who are focused on looking for a cure for hepatitis B. We’re working for the commercial community, working with the academic community. But we’re here stimulating the research, promoting workshops, promoting seminars, but also doing our own research. So I hope that you keep that in mind and know that there are- there are a group of people who remain very focused on it.
Kristine Alarcon, MPH:
Thank you so much for joining us and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this video is not intended to serve as medical advice or endorsement of any product. The Hepatitis B Foundation strongly recommends each person discuss this information and their questions with a qualified health care provider.
The documentary film, produced by The Vaccine Makers Project, follows the unknown story of a man who “had more of an impact on [people’s] lives compared to Einstein.” The film tells the story of a courageous and gutsy scientist, Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman, and the elimination of diseases of children. With his unwavering determination, Dr. Hilleman invented the first-ever vaccine against a human cancer (the hepatitis B vaccine), developed the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination vaccine, and prevented pandemic flu. During World War II he developed an urgently needed vaccine for Japanese B encephalitis in 30 days.
He is responsible for more than half of the vaccines children receive today and is credited with saving more than eight million lives every year. Now through exclusive interviews with Dr. Hilleman and his peers, rare archival footage, and 3-D animation, this new documentary puts a human face to vaccine science, revealing the character that drove this bold, complex, and heroic man.
When parents began choosing not to vaccinate their children in the 1990s, a cruel irony became clear; Hilleman’s unprecedented successes have allowed us to forget just how devastating childhood diseases can be. The documentary reminds us by allowing us to see these diseases as part of the film.
Community members from Philadelphia and Bucks County came for the film screening as they enjoyed fun movie snacks. They also enjoyed a panel discussion moderated by Timothy Block, PhD, with the documentary director and esteemed representatives from scientific community. Expert panelists included Donald Rayne Mitchell, Paul Offit, MD, David Oshinsky, PhD, and Walter Tsou, MD, MPH. They shared their thoughts on the documentary, Dr. Hilleman’s life, and the future of vaccines. Mitchell and Dr. Offit expressed that the documentary film was created to “inspire a kid or to get into [scientific] work someday,” and to “put a human face on vaccines.”
For more information about the film, click here. If you are interested in learning more about the hepatitis B vaccine, click here.
Be on the look out for a special “preview” vlog of the film screening at the end of December 2017.
On Thursday, Oct. 12, representatives from Hepatitis B Foundation, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, and NASTAD (the National Alliance of State and Territorial Aids Directors) will co-host a twitter chat at 2 p.m. EST using the hashtag #liverchat.
Also participating is special guest Katherine McGlynn, PhD of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. McGlynn is a Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch. She is a researcher and expert in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Below are questions scheduled to be discussed during the chat. How can you contribute to the conversation? Share any resources or strategies you have that raise awareness and improve liver cancer surveillance. Join the conversation with the hashtag #liverchat.
Q1: What is primary liver cancer and why is raising awareness so important?
Q2: What are the risk factors for liver cancer and why should people with viral hepatitis worry?
Q3: What are some strategies to help prevent viral hepatitis and liver cancer?
Q4: What are the barriers that keep people from getting screened for hepatitis and liver cancer and how can they be addressed?
Q5: What can people living with chronic hepatitis B and C do to protect their liver health and prevent liver cancer?
Q6: Why are some populations more vulnerable to viral hepatitis and liver cancer, and how do we address the disparities?
Q7: What can we do to raise awareness & educate vulnerable communities about viral hepatitis and its link to liver cancer?
Q8: What resources are available to learn more about viral hepatitis and liver cancer?
Co-hosts and special guests for the chat include:
Hepatitis B Foundation – @hepbfoundation
NASTAD – @NASTAD
CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis – @cdchep
CDC Cancer – @cdc_cancer
Dr. Katherine McGlynn – National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics – @NCIEpiTraining
CDC National Prevention Information Network (CDCNPIN) will be moderating the chat – @cdcnpin
Confirmed participants and their handles include:
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable – @NVHR1
Hep B United – @hepbunited
Coalition Against Hepatitis For People of African Origin – @CHIPO_HBV
Hep B United Philadelphia – @HepBUnitedPhila
Liver Cancer Connect – @livercancerconn
Hep Free Hawaii – @hepfreehawaii
Hep Free NYC – @hepfreenyc
Just getting started with Twitter? Want to know how to join the conversation? Type #liverchatin the search box of the Twitter application to follow the chat, and click on “Latest”.
You can prepare your tweets in response to the topics listed above in advance, or you can also tweet on the fly, re-tweet, or Like a tweet from the chat.
The questions are labeled Q1, Q2, etc. so please respond/answer specific question by using A1, A2, etc. in front of your tweets. Remember to include the #liverchathashtag, which is not case sensitive, in all of your tweets.
If you plan to participate, please contact us at email@example.com and we’ll add you to the list of confirmed participants. Let us know if you have any other questions about joining the chat.