Hepatitis B Factsheet HEP AUST
What does hepatitis mean?
The word ‘hepatitis’ means infl ammation of the liver.
What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a virus that can damage the liver. It is sometimes also called hep B or HBV. You can either have an acute or chronic hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis B is different to hepatitis C and other types of hepatitis and HIV.
Chronic hepatitis B can cause liver damage, liver scarring (cirrhosis) and liver cancer; however, there are effective medicines that can reduce liver damage and help prevent liver cancer by controlling the hepatitis B virus.
What does the liver do?
The liver is responsible for performing many functions which are important for good health.
Every day your liver:
• clears the blood of waste products, hormones, drugs and other toxins
• breaks down hormones and old blood cells
• makes, stores and releases sugars and fats
• produces essential proteins, including blood clotting factors and enzymes
• aids digestion by releasing bile salts to break down food
• stores and supplies vitamins, minerals and iron to parts of the body where they are needed.