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The Lived Experience of Chronic Hepatitis B: A Broader View of Its Impacts and Why We Need a Cure

1
Storr Liver Centre, Westmead Clinical School and Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia
2
Hepatitis B Foundation, Doylestown, PA 18902, USA
3
Center for Asian Health, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Florham Park, NJ 07039, USA
4
World Hepatitis Alliance, London SE1 3YD, UK
5
Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, University of Sydney at Westmead Hospital, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050515
Received: 1 April 2020 / Revised: 25 April 2020 / Accepted: 5 May 2020 / Published: 7 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis B Virus: From Diagnostics to Treatments)
Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is one of the most widespread liver diseases in the world. It is currently incurable and can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. The considerable impacts on society caused by CHB through patient mortality, morbidity, and economic loss are well-recognised in the field. This is, however, a narrow view of the harms, given that people living with CHB can be asymptomatic for the majority of their life-long infection. Of less-appreciated importance are the psychosocial harms, which can continue throughout an affected person’s lifetime. Here we review the broad range of these impacts, which include fear and anxiety; financial loss and instability; stigma and discrimination; and rejection by society. Importantly, these directly affect patient diagnosis, management, and treatment. Further, we highlight the roles that the research community can play in taking these factors into account and mitigating them. In particular, the development of a cure for hepatitis B virus infection would alleviate many of the psychosocial impacts of CHB. We conclude that there should be a greater recognition of the full impacts associated with CHB to bring meaningful, effective, and deliverable results to the global community living with hepatitis B. View Full-Text
Keywords: lived experience; Hepatitis B virus; stigma; discrimination; HBV cure; chronic hepatitis B; liver disease; psychosocial impact; community; patient experiences; quality of life; public health; socioculture; elimination lived experience; Hepatitis B virus; stigma; discrimination; HBV cure; chronic hepatitis B; liver disease; psychosocial impact; community; patient experiences; quality of life; public health; socioculture; elimination
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tu, T.; Block, J.M.; Wang, S.; Cohen, C.; Douglas, M.W. The Lived Experience of Chronic Hepatitis B: A Broader View of Its Impacts and Why We Need a Cure. Viruses 2020, 12, 515.

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