Despite the availability of a preventive vaccine and active antiviral treatments that stop disease progression and reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatitis B is still a major public health problem. Only an estimated 10% of the 257 million people living with HBV have been diagnosed and as few as 1% are being adequately treated. Barriers to diagnosis and treatment include: (i) limited awareness and lack of knowledge about HBV infection and HBV‐related diseases; (ii) under‐diagnosis with insufficient screening and referral to care; (iii) limited treatment due to drug availability, costs, reimbursement policies and the need for long‐term or life‐long therapy. These barriers and the actions needed to improve access to treatment are strongly influenced by the prevalence of infection and affect middle‐high vs low‐middle income countries differently, where most HBV carriers are found. In high‐prevalence regions and low‐to middle‐income countries, the main challenges are availability and cost while in low‐prevalence regions and middle‐to high‐income countries low screening rates, public awareness, social stigma and discrimination play an important role. Overcoming these challenges on a global scale is a complex clinical and public health challenge and multilateral commitment from pharmaceutical companies, governments, funders and the research community is lacking. The new WHO 2016 Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis targets testing and treatment, suggesting that important but strong actions are needed from advocacy groups, scientific societies and funding agencies to foster awareness and access to cure.
access to treatment, chronic HBV infection, disease awareness, HBV screening, vaccine availability