Hi Alexander, I’m glad that you found this forum. What a terrible time to receive a call from your doctor about a liver infection that you know nothing of. First, please know that as Thomas already wrote, hepatitis B is NOT a death sentence. Today there are now many approved drugs that control the virus and can halt or certainly significantly slow down any disease progression. Just like folks with high blood pressure can take drugs to decrease the risks of stroke or heart attacks. For hep b the current antivirals greatly reduce the risk to more serious liver diseases. Combined with regular monitoring (e.g. medical check-ups with blood work and imaging studies like ultrasounds), the outlook for those of us living with chronic hep b is much brighter than what you read about online. Yes, chronic hep b is a serious liver infection. BUT, it doesn’t mean we can do things to reduce our risks - seeing a knowledgeable doctor who understands management of hep b and screening for liver cancer; stopping smoking; stopping or reducing the amount of alcohol drinking; eating more healthfully and exercising to stay in good shape; and of course getting our loved ones vaccinated.
The good news is that your son was vaccinated, your wife tested negative for the virus, and you sound like you’re probably in good health overall as well since this diagnosis was such a shock. My personal recommendation is that you request copies of all of your blood tests, especially your hep b test results to make sure that you understand what was negative or positive. Also, since this is the first time that you were told that you had hep b, your doctor should re-test you in 6 months to make sure that you actually have a chronic hep b infection. Technically, a chronic infection is diagnosed after a person tests positive for the virus (HBsAG+) 6 months apart.
Ok, this response is getting to long. Sorry! Since it’s the New Year, I wanted to make sure that you started with a reassuring response to your posting and to start the new year with hope and a confident attitude. Hep b can be controlled, managed, and one can live quite successfully with it. Just as Thomas said, I as a 63 year old woman have been happily married for 35 years, have 2 grown healthy children, and other than the usual aches and pains, have not really been impacted in any dramatic way by my hep b infection. So I hope this gives you hope! And finally, I can reassure you that your friends and family will not reject you because of hep b. There’s an effective vaccine and it can’t be spread easily through casual contact. You can share hugs, meals, drinking glasses, bathrooms, etc. Hep b is most effectively transmitted through direct blood to blood contact that happens with sexual relations, drug use and shared drug paraphernalia. With that said, please keep us posted and know that there is an entire community of people who can support you and reassure you that you do not pose any danger to those around you!!! Love your family and wife. Always, Joan