Serological testing for hepatitis B virusinfection 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 virusinfection, 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 virusinfection so that they can be offered vaccination
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.
The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges First Nations peoples as the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to all Elders both past and present.