Background: As many as 10% of Asian and Pacific Islander adults in the United States are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and up to two thirds are unaware that they are infected. Without proper medical management and antiviral therapy, up to 25% of Asian and Pacific Islander persons with chronic HBV infection will die of liver disease.
Objective: To assess the cost-effectiveness of 4 HBV screening and vaccination programs for Asian and Pacific Islander adults in the United States.
Design: Markov model with costs and benefits discounted at 3%.
Data sources: Published literature and expert opinion.
Target population: Asian and Pacific Islander adults (base-case age, 40 years; sensitivity analysis conducted on ages 20 to 60 years).
Time horizon: Lifetime.
Perspective: U.S. societal.
Interventions: A universal vaccination strategy in which all individuals are given a 3-dose vaccination series; a screen-and-treat strategy, in which individuals are given blood tests to determine whether they are chronically infected, and infected persons are monitored and treated; a screen, treat, and ring vaccinate strategy, in which all individuals are tested for chronic HBV infection and close contacts of infected persons are screened and vaccinated if needed; and a screen, treat, and vaccinate strategy, in which all individuals are tested and then vaccinated with a 3-dose series if needed. In all cases, persons found to be chronically infected are monitored and treated if indicated.
Outcome measures: Costs (2006 U.S. dollars), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness.
Results of base-case analysis: Compared with the status quo, the screen-and-treat strategy has an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $36,088 per QALY gained. The screen, treat, and ring vaccinate strategy gains more QALYs than the screen and treat strategy and incurs modest incremental costs, leading to incremental cost-effectiveness of $39,903 per QALY gained compared with the screen and treat strategy. The universal vaccination and screen, treat, and vaccinate strategies were weakly dominated by the other 2 strategies.
Results of sensitivity analysis: Over a wide range of variables, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of the screen and treat and screen, treat, and ring vaccinate strategies were less than $50,000 per QALY gained.
Limitations: Results depend on the accuracy of the underlying data and assumptions. The long-term effectiveness of new and future HBV treatments is uncertain.
Conclusions: Screening programs for HBV among Asian and Pacific Islander adults are likely to be cost effective. Clinically significant benefits accrue from identifying chronically infected persons for medical management and vaccinating their close contacts. Such efforts can greatly reduce the burden of HBV-associated liver cancer and chronic liver disease in the Asian and Pacific Islander population.