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DH encourages people at higher infection risk to get tested for hepatitis B
     In support of World Hepatitis Day 2022, the Department of Health (DH) has adopted "Hepatitis B can cause cancer, get tested and treated early" as the theme of its promotion to remind the public of the importance of hepatitis B testing and following up medically, in particular for family members and sexual partners of people with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and others with a higher risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

     The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated July 28 as World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of viral hepatitis.

     HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to their babies, and through blood-borne or sexual contact with an infected person. Infected individuals can develop chronic infection if they fail to clear the virus.

     A spokesman for the DH said, "Ninety per cent of neonates would develop chronic hepatitis B infection if they were infected. A universal childhood hepatitis B vaccination programme has been in place in Hong Kong since November 1988, and has achieved the greatest prevention of hepatitis B.

     "Patients with CHB should seek medical consultation on the treatment plan, and have regular follow-ups and investigations for early detection and management of changes in their liver condition. About 15 to 40 per cent of untreated people with CHB could develop cirrhosis and liver cancer, and they may remain asymptomatic until severe liver damage develops," the spokesman added.

     For family members (such as parents, siblings and offspring) and sexual partners of people with CHB, as well as other people at higher risk of HBV infection, they should get tested to ascertain their hepatitis B status. A blood test is required to diagnose hepatitis B. They may consult their family doctors for hepatitis B testing and should take necessary measures to prevent HBV infection, including hepatitis B vaccination as applicable.

     To meet the goal set by the WHO to eliminate the major public health threat posed by viral hepatitis by 2030, the Government launched the Hong Kong Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2020 - 2024 in October 2020, setting out a comprehensive strategy with specific actions by the DH, the Hospital Authority and other stakeholders to reduce transmission of viral hepatitis, as well as related morbidity and mortality. Early identification and management of people with CHB is one of the focus areas of the Action Plan.

     A newly produced video on hepatitis B has been uploaded to the YouTube channel of the Centre for Health Protection. More information on the topic is also available at the DH's website (www.hepatitis.gov.hk/english/index.html).

     ​For information on World Hepatitis Day 2022, please visit the DH's thematic website (www.hepatitis.gov.hk/english/news_activities/world_hepatitis_day_2022.html).
Ends/Thursday, July 28, 2022
Issued at HKT 11:00
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