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Commonly Asked Questions about Hepatitis B

Why is hepatitis B so dangerous?

Hepatitis B is dangerous because it is a “silent infection,” which means it can infect people without them knowing it. Most people who are infected with hepatitis B are unaware of their infection and can unknowingly spread the virus to others through their infected blood and bodily fluids. For those who become chronically infected, there is an increased risk of developing serious liver disease later in life. The virus can quietly and continuously attack the liver over many years without being detected. The only way to confirm a hepatitis B infection is through a blood test.

Is there a cure for hepatitis B?

There are many approved therapies for hepatitis B. First-line therapies in the U.S. and globally are entecavir and tenofovir, both antivirals. Sometimes, pegylated interferon is used. These drugs control and manage the virus and reduce potential liver damage. In rare cases, they may even get rid of the virus completely.

You might be interested in the recent Commentary on the Cure by Dr. Timothy Block, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation; Dr. Chari Cohen, our senior vice president; and Maureen Kamischke, the Foundation's patient engagement and consult specialist.

For a complete list of FDA-approved drugs and other promising drugs in development for hepatitis B, visit our Drug Watch page.