- Always remember family notification. In most cases, an individual patient/ client with chronic hepatitis B will have family members with hepatitis B. These family members may not have been tested for or diagnosed with hepatitis B.
- There is currently no contact tracing or partner notification service in Victoria for family members and sexual contacts of patients/clients diagnosed with hep B. It is up to the clinician, and we know that some clinicians find this task both sensitive and time-consuming. We also know that the involvement of ‘government officials’ can be frightening for people.
- Family notification is not always straightforward. Family dynamics and structures may be complex and the person with hepatitis B may face issues around stigma, shame or blame.
- Your primary resource for family notification is the patient themselves. This can be complicated by the distress patients may feel when they have first been diagnosed. You can refer patients for community-based care and support at the Multicultural Health & Support Service or the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, where community workers will provide emotional support and information to help the patient adjust to their diagnosis and develop a plan for notifying their household contacts and family members.
Click here for some tips and suggestions for contact tracing and family notification for chronic hepatitis B.