New world-first hepatitis B online support forum

New world-first hepatitis B online support forum

New world-first hepatitis B online support forum

More than 250,000 Australians living with chronic liver infection Hepatitis (HBV) can now connect with other affected people, medical experts, and researchers on the new world-first online forum, HepBcommunity.org

Founder of the new online forum and Westmead Hospital’s hepatitis B researcher, Dr Thomas Tu said,Hepatitis B affects almost 300 million people globally and 800,000 people will die prematurely this year from liver cancer or liver failure.”

“While hepatitis B remains incurable, it can be managed and treated”, said Dr Tu. “However, people with hepatitis B face community stigma and discrimination, discouraging them from seeking medical help that could prevent progression of their illness to serious disease like liver cancer”.

Living with hepatitis B and dedicating his career to researching the virus, Dr Tu created the forum to be a “safe and inclusive space” for affected people to connect with each other, ask questions of verified medical experts, and access trustworthy information. 

The site is free to join and currently has over 200 members from Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Russia, Sierra Leone, Slovenia and the USA.

Topics on the forum include: when to start treatment, hepatitis B and COVID, dealing with a diagnosis in a relationship, lifestyle changes, nutrition and supplements, children and hepatitis B, and understanding laboratory results.

Westmead Hospital’s Storr Liver Centre and the Hepatitis B Foundation provided start-up funding for the forum, with support from the World Hepatitis Alliance.

The Hepatitis B Foundation Senior Vice President, Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH believes, “The new forum is critically important because people can anonymously seek advice about how to live with hepatitis B, and what they can do to protect their liver and long-term health.”

“The ultimate goal is to save lives,” said World Hepatitis Alliance President, Su Wang, MD, MPH. “This is a safe and friendly online community that gives people around the world the information and support they need to live successfully with hepatitis B.”

Dr Tu emphasis that HepBcommunity.org is not intended to replace doctor and specialist consultations for medical treatment for hepatitis B.

To support HepBcommunity.org please give generously to Westmead Hospital Foundation’s dedicated hepatitis B campaign westmeadhf.org.au/hepb