Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus which is transmissible by blood and sexual contact, as well as from mother to child at birth (unlike hepatitis C, which is strongly associated with risky injecting behaviour). The virus affects the liver by attaching to healthy liver cells and replicating. If not diagnosed and managed appropriately, hepatitis B infection can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer or liver failure.
During 2016, there was 6,555 new hepatitis B diagnoses in Australia, elevating the total number of people living with chronic hepatitis B to an estimated 233,034. An estimated 63% of these people living with hepatitis B were diagnosed. Australia’s Second National Hepatitis B Strategy (2014–2017) has a target of 15% of people living with chronic hepatitis B on treatment, but only 7% of people living with chronic hepatitis B were estimated to be receiving antiviral therapy in 2016.
The hepatitis B notification rate has declined in younger age groups (16% decline in people aged 15–19 years, 31% decline in those aged 20–24 years and 25% decline in those aged 25–29 years), in contrast to older age groups (a 5% increase in people aged 30–39, and a 9% increase in people aged 40 and over).
You can explore the hepatitis B data from Australia in the interactive graphs below.
Scroll down to read the interpretation of the data and to download the full version of the report.