One of my patients said this to me:
Dr, I was diagnosed as a Hepatitis B carrier 2 years ago. What do I need to do?
Please listen, if you are a Hep B carrier, it is IMPERATIVE that you are regularly checked by a Doctor at least twice a year and that your spouse/partner is protected against Hep B.
Importance of Hepatitis B in Singapore
1. 4% of Singaporeans are Hep B carriers, so there are quite a lot of people carrying the virus in their bodies!
2. Of these, 25% will develop complications which may lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
3. If you are a carrier, you may transmit Hep B to someone else!
In a nutshell, if you are a Hep B carrier, there is a chance that you may develop liver cancer and that you may also spread it to others.
How to prevent spreading Hep B to others
Hep B is transmitted through bodily fluids and are transmitted through sex, sharing of contaminated needles and sharing of other things that may cause bleeding like toothbrushes, nail clippers and shavers. Make sure you don't be a HERO and donate your blood or sperm!
What to do for your family members
It is important that your spouse be screened for Hep B and receive vaccination as soon as possible. It is advisable for others in the family to be screened as well. If you are pregnant, then the baby will need special treatment at birth.
What YOU need to do for yourself
1. Find a Family Doctor and make sure you visit him every 6 months
2. You will need blood tests to check for liver problems every 6 months
3. You will need at an Ultrasound of the Liver at least every year and for some high risk patients, twice a year
4. If you are not vaccinated against Hep A you should do so.
5. Avoid alcohol as this will cause more problems for your liver
Hepatitis B carriers have a chance of developing liver cancer and should be seen by a doctor every six months. Their family members and other sexual contacts are also at risk and should be screened. Hep B is a bigger problem than AIDS and kills more people every year than AIDS so you should be very careful.