Serological testing for hepatitis B virus infection before vaccination may be warranted for some older children, adolescents and adults. This is particularly so for those at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis B virus infection, such as:

  • people who inject drugs
  • sex industry workers
  • people who are immunocompromised
  • people living in communities with higher prevalence of hepatitis B, including migrant communities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 

Serological testing of people at higher risk: 

  • allows people with hepatitis B to receive appropriate clinical management 
  • prevents onward transmission, which reduces the population impact of hepatitis B 
  • identifies people who are susceptible to hepatitis B virus infection so that they can be offered vaccination

See Recommendations.26

People at increased risk of hepatitis A virus exposure (see Hepatitis A) can also have serological testing for hepatitis A. If they are susceptible, they are recommended to receive a combination hepatitis A-hepatitis B vaccine.

When interpreting serological testing results, it may be useful to discuss the results with the laboratory that performed the test, to ensure that decisions are based on all relevant clinical information.

Page history

Last updated: 
4 June 2018
Last reviewed: 
4 June 2018