Gastroenterology Department, Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UY, UK.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a small nonenveloped DNA virus that is a member of the Hepadnaviridae family. Chronic HBV infection is estimated to effect more than 350 million people worldwide with over 2 billion people being exposed to the virus. Risk factors for chronic infection include age of exposure to the virus, concurrent immunosuppression and HIV infection. Individuals chronically infected are 200 times more likely to develop hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) than uninfected individuals and are at risk of developing cirrhosis and the risks of decompensated liver disease. This article focuses on the recent therapeutic advances that reduce the risk of developing these complications, those that prevent the spread of HBV and strategies for the prevention of post-liver-transplantation recurrence of HBV.