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Hepatitis B

An estimated 239,000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). About 40 per cent of these people don’t realise they have the virus.

Among those who have been diagnosed, at least 84 per cent are not receiving adequate care. Without access to care and regular monitoring, about 15 to 25 per cent of people living with CHB will die from complications attributed to the disease, such as liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Our region

The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network region has the highest prevalence of CHB and the highest hepatitis B notification rate of all six Victorian primary health network areas. This represents a large proportion of the approximately 63,000 Victorians living with CHB.

Annual notifications of hepatitis B are more than double the Victorian average in the Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Brimbank and Wyndham local government areas.

Liver cancer rates are rising faster than rates for any other cancer in Australia, and liver cancer is the fastest increasing cause of cancer death. Early detection, follow-up and treatment of CHB can slow the progression of the disease towards liver failure, and reduce the chance of a person living with CHB developing liver cirrhosis and HCC.

How can we help?

Education and training

The hepatitis B story

The hepatitis B story is a resource hosted on the St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne resources page (scroll down to locate). It supports health workers to chat to patients with low health literacy about chronic hepatitis B and includes videos in different community languages, a clinician’s guide, an A4 teaching tool for health workers, and patient brochures in eight languages. (We may have hard copies of these booklets: please contact us if you are interested.)