Assessment: Can I get treatment?
What do you mean by assessment?
Not everyone needs to go onto treatment for Hepatitis B. Most people clear the virus naturally during the acute phase. Even those who go on to develop a chronic Hepatitis B infection may not have to be put onto treatment.
The assessment process is very important for a number of reasons. It provides the opportunity for you to speak to a trained supportive professional about any questions or concerns you have about Hepatitis B and for you to get more information about what treatment may involve. It also allows you to find out how the virus has affected your body so far. People with chronic Hepatitis B will be asked to attend regular check-ups where liver function tests will be carried out to see if the virus is causing damage to the liver. If it is found that the virus is causing liver damage then treatment may be advised to slow the progression of serious liver damage.
Why do I have to be assessed for treatment?
Even if you have chronic Hepatitis B infection, you may not ever have to go onto treatment. Most people with chronic Hepatitis B will experience no symptoms throughout the period of their infection and the virus may not be damaging their liver. This will be monitored throughout their lives to ensure the virus is not progressing onto serious liver damage.
If Hepatitis B does begin to damage your liver then you may be considered for treatment. Treatment for Hepatitis B is not always easy. Some of the drugs taken for Hepatitis B are very powerful and have to be taken at regular intervals, over a large number of years – sometimes for life.
The drugs can interfere with certain other medical conditions you may have. These include heart disease, immune problems and depression.
Doctors also want to make sure that your present circumstances don’t prevent you from attending the hospital appointments you’ll be given, or from taking medication as prescribed. Not taking your treatment as prescribed could lead to the virus developing a resistance to the drugs and could also lead to liver damage.