Screening for Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Adolescents and Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

JAMA. 2020 Dec 15;324(23):2415-2422. doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.22980.


Importance: An estimated 862 000 persons in the US are living with chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Persons born in regions with a prevalence of HBV infection of 2% or greater, such as countries in Africa and Asia, the Pacific Islands, and parts of South America, often become infected at birth and account for up to 95% of newly reported chronic infections in the US. Other high-prevalence populations include persons who inject drugs; men who have sex with men; persons with HIV infection; and sex partners, needle-sharing contacts, and household contacts of persons with chronic HBV infection. Up to 60% of HBV-infected persons are unaware of their infection, and many remain asymptomatic until onset of cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease.

Objective: To update its 2014 recommendation, the USPSTF commissioned a review of new randomized clinical trials and cohort studies published from 2014 to August 2019 that evaluated the benefits and harms of screening and antiviral therapy for preventing intermediate outcomes or health outcomes and the association between improvements in intermediate outcomes and health outcomes. New key questions focused on the yield of alternative HBV screening strategies and the accuracy of tools to identify persons at increased risk.

Population: This recommendation statement applies to asymptomatic, nonpregnant adolescents and adults at increased risk for HBV infection, including those who were vaccinated before being screened for HBV infection.

Evidence assessment: The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for HBV infection in adolescents and adults at increased risk for infection has moderate net benefit.

Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends screening for HBV infection in adolescents and adults at increased risk for infection. (B recommendation).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Hepatitis B virus* / immunology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / adverse effects
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines