Improving Hepatitis B Screening and Vaccination in 2024

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In this segment of our 6-part discussion on updates and unmet needs within the management of hepatitis B virus focuses on the need to improve HBV screening and vaccination.

In recognition of May 19 as World Hepatitis Testing Day and the month of May as Hepatitis Awareness Month, we are launching our latest HCPLive Special Report, which spotlights a conversation between subject matter experts on updates and unmet needs in the management of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 2024.

Although not discussed with the same frequency and urgency as hepatitis C (HCV) within public health circles, HBV represents a significant impact to public health globally and within the US, where an estimated 2.4 million are chronically infected, because unlike with HCV, there is no cure for these chronically infected patients. However, like HCV, the ongoing opioid crisis in the US has contributed to ballooning rates of acute hepatitis B infection in recent years and only 25% of infected individuals receive a diagnosis, according to the Hepatitis B Foundation.

The third in our 6-part series, Nancy Reau, MD, and Andrew Talal, MD, explore strategies for enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration in managing HBV, given the recent WHO guidelines and universal screening recommendations in the US. Reau emphasized the importance of awareness around the new screening guidelines to identify and treat more patients. She suggests simplifying the rules for screening and treatment to make it easier for a broader range of clinicians, including primary care providers and addiction medicine specialists, to manage HBV.

Talal highlighted the significance of integrating treatment across different clinical settings. He shared insights from a recent JAMA study his team led showing that using telemedicine for HCV treatment in methadone programs significantly improved response rates compared to off-site referrals. He suggested that similar approaches could benefit HBV management by expanding treatment access through trusted clinicians and the use of telemedicine. Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, added that echostyle training has been employed for hepatitis B management, demonstrating its potential to help clinicians worldwide manage the disease effectively.

In this 6-part discussion, our group of experts tackles the following topics:

Panelists:

  • Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH (Moderator): President of the Hepatitis B Foundation.
  • Nancy Reau, MD: Richard B. Capps Chair of Hepatology, Associate Director of Solid Organ Transplantation, and Section Chief of Hepatology at Rush University Medical Center.
  • Andrew Talal, MD: Professor of Medicine and Founder/Director of the Center for Research and Clinical Care in Liver Disease at the State University of New York at Buffalo - School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
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