Liver Disease & Hepatitis Program

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Our mission is to conduct activities that will serve to improve the health of Alaska Native and American Indian persons who either have or are at risk of getting viral hepatitis or other liver diseases.

To read more about our program and clinical & research activities,

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Living with Liver Disease

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. Inflammation of the liver can cause swelling, tenderness and scarring. Viral hepatitis refers to several common diseases caused by viruses. The most common tyes of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C can lead to serious, permanent liver damage. There are other forms of hepatitis that are less common and may not be caused by viruses, such as autoimmune hepatitis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.


Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) can cause a serious form of hepatitis and develop into a chronic disease (lasting more than 6 months). An estimated 1.2 million Americans are chronically infected with HBV. If left undiagnosed and untreated, HBV infection can develop into cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. There is a vaccine for hepatitis B, so it is important to ask your provider and know your status.


Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) develops into a chronic infection in up to 85% of the 150,000 newly infected persons each year. An estimated 3.5 million Americans are chronically infected with HCV. Like hepatitis B, if left untreated, HCV can develop into cirrhosis, liver cancer, or even liver failure. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. It is important to ask your provider and know your status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that if you were born between 1945 and 1965 that you should be tested for hepatitis C.


Other Liver Disease

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There are other causes of inflammation of the liver that are not viral.  This can include fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.  It is important to take care of your liver and to discuss with your provider.



See how Viral Hepatitis (A, B & C) can be transmitted.

Viral hepatitis can be avoided. You should always practice safe sex and never share objects such as needles, razors, toothbrushes, nail files and clippers. When getting a manicure, tattoo or body piercing, make sure sterile instruments are used. There are vaccines available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, but there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Those who are exposed to blood in their work, like health care workers, laboratory technicians, dentists, surgeons, nurses and emergency responders (police, fire fighter), or those who live with an infected individual, should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. You should also consider being vaccinated for hepatitis A if you work at a day care center, come into close contact with someone who is infected, travel to geographic areas that have poor sanitation, or live in an area where there has been a recent outbreak of hepatitis A.

Cause For Concern?

Are you at risk for viral hepatitis?
Check out this LINK to CDC's Risk Evaluation.

Want further information?
The American Liver Foundation can provide further information.

Have a question for us? Please contact us by clicking HERE.