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Hepatitis B: Determinants and Assessment

Description of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is one of the viral illnesses that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been struggling to eliminate from global society. The illness is associated with a viral infection of the liver, which can lead to acute or chronic illness (Lok & McMahon, 2009). The mode of transmission of the virus is through the contact of the body fluids of a person with the infection. According to the WHO, there are more than 240 million individuals across the world infected with the Hepatitis B virus over the past six months (Hepatitis B, 2016).

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Statistical research in the organization has also revealed that Hepatitis B kills more than 780,000 individuals annually (Hepatitis B, 2016). Hepatitis B is a very serious illness, and it poses a great threat to the health of the health care providers in their occupation. However, there is a vaccine against the illness and it is recommended to people who work in high-risk areas like registered nurses and other physicians in health care facilities. Hepatitis B is a life-threatening illness and it has a high prevalence rate in East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Determinants of Health

The social-cognitive function of the members of the society regarding their embracement of preventive health care is one of the major determinants of health regarding hepatitis B (de Wit, Vet, Schutten & Steenbergen, 2005). It is apparent that there are many people at risk of contracting the virus, and since it is passed through body fluids, people who are always in physical contact with other people should, therefore, be vaccinated against the virus.

However, it is apparent that despite the high risks associated with some professions, people still ignore the need to get the vaccine against hepatitis B. for instance, nurses and other health care service providers are required to get the vaccine against hepatitis B, but the associated professionals do not always oblige to this requirement. Additionally, the members of the society in the high-risk areas are also required to get the vaccine, but the response to the associated vaccination campaigns is always unsatisfactory for the prevention program against hepatitis B. Since the illness has a high prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, there is a clear indication that social determinants of health such as health education and economic status have an interplay that influences the poor health outcomes concerning hepatitis B.

Epidemiologic Triangle

Some of the host factors that increase the risk of contracting hepatitis B include engaging in unprotected sexual relations with different people. Since the virus is spread through contact with someone with the virus, it is important to have protected sex. Additionally, sharing needles is also one of the high-risk behaviors associated with drug users. Hepatitis B is easily spread among drug users who share needles, as well as tattoo artists who do not observe the required aesthetic procedures.

Coming into contact with the fluids from a patient with chronic hepatitis B is also a major risk factor, and it has accounted for the infection of many nurses and healthcare service providers in the hospitals (Averhoff, 2016). The occupational hazards associated with hepatitis B should be addressed more comprehensively because many people lack health education to compel them to change their risky behaviors.

The causative agent of the illness is the hepatitis B virus that is contained in the body fluids of an infected person. Once in the body, the virus infects the liver and it may lead to the development of liver cirrhosis. The environmental factors that enhance the risks of contracting the virus include poor dental procedures, blood transfusions, drug abuse, unprotected sex, and tattooing, among other activities that influence contact with the body fluids of an infected person (Averhoff, 2016). This implies that the prevalence rate is higher in congested environments, as well as areas like the health care facilities with the presence of numerous infected people.

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Role of Community Health Nurse

The primary roles of a community health nurse are to develop an awareness of the risk factors associated with hepatitis B, and the development of care programs to help the infected people. Additionally, the nurses must be actively involved in the collection of data to highlight the morbidity and mortality rates associated with hepatitis B in the community. The nurses are also charged with giving care to the infected people and providing follow-up services to ensure the affected parties attain full recovery to prevent the spread of the virus in the community (Averhoff, 2016).

Agency Addressing Hepatitis B

The WHO is one of the agencies that are looking into the development of campaigns to create awareness on hepatitis B to the members of the communities with a high prevalence of the illness. The organization promotes preventive programs against hepatitis B by developing vaccination efforts (Averhoff, 2016). The organization has also been actively involved in providing health education to the members of the most affected communities in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.


Averhoff, F. (2016). Hepatitis B. Web.

de Wit, J. B., Vet, R., Schutten, M., & van Steenbergen, J. (2005). Social-Cognitive Determinants of Vaccination Behavior against Hepatitis B: An Assessment among Men Who Have Sex with Men. Preventive medicine, 40(6), 795-802.

Hepatitis B. (2016). Web.

Lok, A. S., & McMahon, B. J. (2009). Chronic hepatitis B: update 2009.Hepatology, 50(3), 661-662.

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