Who should be tested for hepatitis B?

Who should be tested for hepatitis B?

  • Opportunistic testing should be conducted for individuals born overseas especially from high hepatitis B prevalence countries.
  • High prevalence populations include immigrants
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Other people that need to be tested are:

  • Pregnant women because early intervention can prevent vertical transmission
  • Adults at heightened risk of transmission, including sexual and household contacts, men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, individuals with more than one sexual partner, sex workers and patients undergoing haemodialysis.
  • The presence of co-infection may vary prognosis and treatment; therefore, it is important to test hepatitis C and HIV patients.
  • Patients commencing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy should be screened for hepatitis B virus (HBV) as undiagnosed HBV in these patients may lead a life-threatening flare of HBV on reconstitution of the immune system.
  • People showing clinical presentation of liver disease or elevated ALT or AFP of unknown aetiology
  • Health and Allied Health care professionals that may be engaged in exposure prone procedures are advised to be screened for HBV
  • Military personnel

What diagnostic tests are needed?

Current serological tests for HBV are:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)
  • Antibody to surface antigen (anti-HBs)
  • Antibody to core antigen (anti-HBc).

These serology tests are Medicare rebatable.
Table Reference: B Positive ASHM – Hepatitis B for primary care 2018.

How easy is it to access the treatments?

Any pharmacy can supply these treatments under prescription.

Supply should be available in all geographical areas however we advise ringing your local pharmacy to ensure continuity of access for your patient.

For any queries about pharmacies contact the LiverLine on 1800 703 003.

Do GPs need to undertake any special training to treat patients with hepatitis B?

You are required to attend a 1 day session organised by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), Hepatitis B s100 Prescriber Program for general practitioners, other community-based medical practitioners, and nurse practitioners.

This includes:

  • Completing a post-course assessment and achieving a passing grade of 75%
  • A application for HBV s100 prescribing rights, provided by ASHM must be completed
  • Formal authorisation must be provided from your state or territory health department.

You may otherwise be eligible to apply to ASHM to receive recognition for prior experience. Find out more

LiverWELL acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.
We welcome people from all cultures, nationalities and religions. Being inclusive and providing equitable services is our commitment.

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We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands where we work - the lands of the Woi-Wurrung Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations. We express our gratitude to them for their continued care and curation of these lands and waters. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

LiverWELL observes and honours the Kulin Nation's intrinsic connection to land, sky and water, and the creator Bunjil. LiverWELL is committed to being led and informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on bridging health outcomes for communities and improving liver health.