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USPSTF Recommends Hepatitis B Screening for High-Risk Groups — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 27, 2014

USPSTF Recommends Hepatitis B Screening for High-Risk Groups

By Amy Orciari Herman

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in high-risk groups, given the accuracy of serologic testing and the effectiveness of antiviral therapy.

High-risk groups include:

  • people born in areas with an HBV prevalence of 2% or more, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and parts of South America;

  • HIV-positive patients;

  • injection-drug users;

  • men who have sex with men;

  • household contacts of HBV-infected patients.

The grade B recommendation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, updates the task force's 2004 statement, which recommended against HBV screening in the general population. (Of note, the new statement applies only to nonpregnant individuals; the USPSTF already recommends HBV screening in pregnancy.)

Editorialists praise the updated guidance but call it long overdue, noting that it trails recommendations from the CDC and others.

Reader Comments (2)

Jose Gros-Aymerich, MD Physician, Oncology, INSS -retired

I'd say that for selecting people to be screened for VHB, VHC, VIH, VDRL, and so on, any Tattoo could be considered equal to a single parenteral drug use episode. Feedback welcome, please!

dharanipragada subrahmanyam MD Physician, Internal Medicine, jipmer,puducherry,india

the recommendation on screening of household contacts needs reappraisal . I quote an incident I came across in my practice recently.Tthe parents of a doctor couple visited their son. The doctor son found his mother was hepb+.They were then kept in isolation lest they get infected. Finally dismayed they returned to their native town.

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