The effects of chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) on the lives of 40 British patients were studied by means of a questionnaire. The aspects considered were: social, sexual, and family life, physical and psychological health, and work. Thirty six patients considered their lives to have been affected, nine mildly, 14 moderately, and 13 severely. The aspects of life most affected were: sexual (13), psychological (11), physical (5), work (3), social (2), and family (2). Most of the problems encountered were related to infectivity. The availability of vaccines against HBV and of successful antiviral treatment have solved some of the problems, but it remains important for the medical profession to be aware of the multifaceted impact of the carriage of HBV.
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