Hepatitis B FAQs

Is there a cure?
No, however there are effective therapies which are very effective keeping hepatitis B at low levels thus reducing the risk of liver disease. These therapies are fully funded, safe, side-effect free and are life-long.

 

What do my blood results mean?
Having regular blood tests (six-monthly) will let us and you know how healthy your liver is. For most people in active follow-up we can identify liver disease before it becomes life threatening.

 

What does the Foundation have to offer?
The Foundation offers a free long-term follow-up programme that will help you manage this life-long condition. By doing so the risk of you developing liver disease is reduced.

 

Who should I tell?

You do not have to tell anyone you have hepatitis, however you must take reasonable precautions to avoid infecting others (see ‘managing hepatitis B‘). You may choose to share your diagnosis with particular people for support. It is often best to tell people you trust or people directly affected, such as household members or sexual partners.

Telling healthcare workers such as a doctor or nurse may be beneficial for good health care (e.g. prescribing the most appropriate medications). Health care workers, including dentists, are required to use standard infection control precautions for all situations and procedures that may involve exposure to blood or other bodily fluids, regardless of whether you have hepatitis or not.

 

Do I need to tell my employer? 

People living with hepatitis do not have to tell employers, unless you work in an environment that may put others at risk, such as healthcare. However, disclosure is not mandatory. Discrimination against people with hepatitis in the workplace is illegal.

 

Managing the spread of hepatitis in the workplace

  • Chronic HBV & HCV are not notifiable diseases so you have no legal obligation to inform anyone of their status
  • Health care workers with hepatitis must not perform exposure prone procedures.
  • You are required to take precautions to prevent transmission to others. (Not expose others to their blood/sexual fluids).
  • Everyone should be treated as if their blood is infectious – 50 per cent of people with hepatitis B/C may not even know they have hepatitis.
  • Workplace first aiders should use universal precautions when dealing with others body fluids.
  • When possible people should clean up their own blood. Clean up blood with bleach – 10 per cent solution.

 

Can I pass hepatitis B onto my children?
All children born in New Zealand are given hepatitis B vaccination (if the parents consent to this vaccination). This protects them against any future exposure preventing them from being infected. Babies born to hepatitis B mothers are given HB immunoglobulin and hepatitis B vaccination at birth (within first 12 hours). This gives up to 95% protection.

 

Will I die?
For most people with chronic hepatitis B you will live a normal life, however approximately 25% of people will develop some form of liver disease and 15% of them will develop serious liver problems such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. By being proactive and managing this disease correctly the risks of developing serious liver disease are greatly reduced.

I need a Fibroscan for immigration purposes, where do I get a Fibroscan from?

Currently the Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand is unable to provide Fibroscans for immigration purposes. If you require a Fibroscan for Immigration NZ, these can be requested by your GP or private specialist. Click here for a list of centres where you can get a FibroScan.

 

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© The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 2016