What is it?

Hepatitis B is a virus that affects the liver. The virus is spread through body fluids such as blood, saliva, semen and vaginal fluid. People who can’t get rid of the hepatitis B virus from their body after six months have chronic hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis B can cause serious forms of liver disease, including cancer.

Chronic hepatitis B has different phases which change over time. Treatment is different for each phase.

Chronic hepatitis B has no cure and no matter which phase you are in, will need to have regular tests so that any liver complications are detected and managed early. With the right treatment, symptoms can be managed and you can have a good quality of life.


What will my GP do now?

Your GP will review your overall health as well as checking which phase you are in. Your treatment will be targeted to that phase.

Your GP may talk to you about the risk of infecting others. You may need to tell past sexual partners you have hepatitis B. Your family members and friends might need to be tested.

Your treatment plan may also include steps to improve your overall health and wellbeing, including:

  • Good nutrition
  • Quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol (or stopping completely)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight


What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP will see you at least every six months to review your disease phase and treatment plan. This may include blood tests and special scans of your liver. If your disease phase changes, you will need a new review and treatment plan.

Your GP will also check your overall health and liver health. If needed, your GP may refer you to a specialist for further treatment.


What can I do?

Continue to see your GP regularly and follow your treatment plan. Talk to your GP about a specialist referral if you feel like your symptoms aren’t improving.

Take active steps to maintain good health. Ask for a referral for a dietitian if you’d like some help developing a healthy meal plan.

There is a vaccine for hepatitis B. Encourage your family and partner to get vaccinated.