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Hepatitis Treatment: Increasing the GP’s role

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects some 225,000 Australians, with up to half of the cases remaining undiagnosed. ‘About 1% of the Australian population are living with chronic hepatitis B and there has been quite a demographic shift, particularly in the last 30 years,’

Associate Professor Benjamin Cowie, epidemiologist at the World Health Organization Regional Reference Laboratory for Hepatitis B, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and a physician with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, told Good Practice.

‘There are priority populations within that, particularly Australians born overseas in endemic areas, like the Asia-Pacific region and Sub-Saharan Africa, where hepatitis B is prevalent. They make up more than half the people with hepatitis B in Australia.’