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B Positive: Revised and Now Available

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B Positive is now available as both a handbook and website.

Guidance for Primary Care Practitioners to 'B Positive'

Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 2014—The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference in Alice Springs marked the launch of the newly revised B Positive — all you wanted to know about hepatitis B: a Guide for Primary Care Providers.

The handbook, which has also been released as a website www.hepatitisB.org.au, takes up from the Australian Government's recently announced National Hepatitis B Strategies. Designed to be used as a desktop or online resource, B Positive is a comprehensive summary of currently available knowledge and practice in the diagnosis, care, and management of hepatitis B.

B Positive has been produced by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

"Not all primary care practitioners will be confident in prescribing antiviral therapy," said co-editor, Nicole Allard. "Increased expertise, including prescribing, will be essential for reducing the incidence of adverse outcomes, including liver cancer."

Contents of the Handbook

The handbook contains extensive research and clinical information, including:

  • Prevalence and epidemiology
  • Virology
  • Testing and Interpreting Test Results
  • Primary Prevention
  • Clinical assessment
  • Treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection
  • Managing patients with advanced liver disease
  • Managing hepatitis B in pregnancy and children
  • Co-infection and immunosuppression

There is also guidance for primary care practitioners about privacy, confidentiality, and legal responsibilities, as well as a patient factsheet.

"The new 2014 edition contains more tables, summaries and key practice points. The online version also contains hyperlinked text to allow users to easily flow through relevant related information," said Nicole Allard.

Disease Burden

Chronic hepatitis B currently affects around 218,000 Australians. Most of those affected were born overseas, predominantly from the Asia and Pacific region. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented with 10 per cent of the disease burden, despite only making up three per cent of the population. Untreated hepatitis B can lead to liver illness, liver failure, and liver cancer, which is now Australia's fastest rising cause of cancer death. 

B Positive has been designed with practitioners from a diverse range of settings in mind — from inner-city to rural, and remote clinics, and clinics who serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Chapters have been contributed by a number of pre-eminent specialists from across Australia. 

B Positive has been endorsed by:

  • Australasian Hepatology Association
  • Cancer Council of Australia
  • Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA)
  • Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID)

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