HealthDay News – The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening adolescents and adults at increased risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online May 5 by the USPSTF.

Roger Chou, MD, from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues systematically updated the 2014 review on screening for HBV infection in nonpregnant adolescents and adults. Data were included from 50 studies; 22 were added for this update. The researchers found that none of the studies directly assessed the effects of screening vs no screening on clinical outcomes. Nearly all patients with HBV infection were identified using screening strategies that target patients with risk factors. Antiviral therapy was associated with a greater likelihood for achieving various intermediate outcomes than placebo or no treatment, based on 18 primarily fair-quality trials. Based on 13 randomized trials, antiviral therapy might be linked to improved clinical outcomes.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF concludes that screening for HBV infection had moderate net benefit in adolescents and adults at increased risk for infection (B recommendation). Those at increased risk for infection include persons born in regions with a hepatitis B surface antigen prevalence of 2% or greater, persons who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and persons with HIV infection.

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“New evidence continues to reinforce that screening in those at increased risk consistently leads to better health outcomes,” USPSTF member Aaron Caughey, MD, PhD, said in a statement.

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Draft Evidence Review

Draft Recommendation Statement

Comment on Recommendation Statement