Original Research

Achieving Excellence in Hepatitis B Virus Care for Veterans in the VHA

Enhancing care of veterans infected with hepatitis B virus who are in VHA care includes providingclinical guidance, informatics tools, patient monitoring, and continuous evaluation of care.

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Hepatitis B is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which is transmitted through percutaneous (ie, puncture through the skin) or mucosal (ie, direct contact with mucous membranes) exposure to infectious blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B virus can cause chronic infection, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Persons with chronic infection also serve as the main reservoir for continued HBV transmission. 1

Individuals at highest risk for infection include those born in geographic regions with a high prevalence of HBV, those with sexual partners or household contacts with chronic HBV infection, men who have sex with men (MSM), those with HIV, and individuals who inject drugs. Pregnant women also are a population of concern given the potential for perinatal transmission. 2

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