The distribution of hepatitis B virus exposure and infection in a population-based sample of U.S. Hispanic adults

Hepatology. 2016 Feb;63(2):445-52. doi: 10.1002/hep.28328. Epub 2015 Dec 9.


Little is known regarding the prevalence and distribution of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in U.S. Hispanics/Latinos. We sought to determine the prevalence of HBV exposure (serum HBV core antibody; anti-HBc), active HBV infection (serum HBV surface antigen; HBsAg), and vaccine-induced HBV immunity (antibody against HBV surface antigen; anti-HBs) in U.S. Hispanics/Latinos and consider how these data inform clinical screening recommendations. Our analysis included 11,999 women and men of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a population-based, household survey in four urban communities (Bronx, NY; Miami, FL; Chicago, IL; and San Diego, CA) of U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized self-identifying Hispanic/Latino adults ages 18-74. Vaccine-induced immunity was defined as detection of anti-HBs, but not anti-HBc. However, if anti-HBc were present, it was considered evidence of exposure to HBV, with detection of HBsAg used to distinguish those with active HBV infection. Mean age was 45.7 years, and 7,153 were women. Vaccine-induced immunity was greatest among those ages 18-29 years (60.2% in women, 54% in men) and decreased with increasing age, regardless of country of birth. The prevalence of active HBV infection was 0.29% (95% confidence interval: 0.19-0.43), but varied by country of birth. Those born in the Dominican Republic had the highest prevalence of HBV exposure (20.3% in women, 29.7% in men) and active HBV infection (0.95%).

Conclusions: The overall age-standardized prevalence of active HBV infection in Hispanic/Latino adults (0.29%) was no different from the general U.S. population estimate (0.27%) and did not exceed 2%, regardless of country of birth. These data do not support targeting HBV screening to US Hispanic/Latino adults based upon background.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / blood
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / immunology
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines