This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its draft recommendation statement pertaining to hepatitis B screening, recommending screening people who are at high risk for hepatitis B infection. Before finalizing the recommendation, the USPSTF is inviting public comments on the draft statement until March 10, 2014.
The Task Force is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.
After reviewing the evidence, the Task Force draft recommendation calls for screening people who have the following risk factors for hepatitis B:
- People who were born in countries and regions with a high prevalence of HBV infection, such as Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the northern countries in South America.
- U.S.-born persons not vaccinated as infants whose parents were born in regions with a high prevalence of HBV infection
- People who are HIV-positive, injection drug users, and men who have sex with men.
- Patients who are have a weakened immune system or undergo treatment for kidney failure (hemodialysis).
Read the full draft recommendations for HBV screening.
Public comments on the draft statement can be submitted online to the Task Force until March 10.
A fact sheet that explains the draft recommendation statement in plain language is also available along with a press release .