What is it?
The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver disease. In some cases, a person can be infected with Hepatitis B for many years without having any symptoms. If this happens, Hepatitis B can eventually progress to cause serious liver damage in some people.
How common is Hepatitis B?
It is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with Hepatitis B at some point. About 350 million people worldwide are living with a chronic Hepatitis B infection. Many people infected with hepatitis B may be completely unaware that they have it because of the often silent nature of the infection. The Scottish Government has responded to this, recognising viral hepatitis (including Hepatitis B and C) as one of the most serious public health concerns of our generation, in launching their Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework for Scotland 2011-2015.
About the virus:
Hepatitis B was identified in 1965 by Dr. Baruch Blumberg.
Scientists are continuing to discover more about the virus and are constantly working on new treatments which may be more effective in tackling the virus in the future. You can read about developments in Hepatitis B research by subscribing to our e-bulletin.