Next review: 2017

This guidance aims to ensure more people at increased risk of hepatitis B and C infection are tested.

The guidance is for commissioners and providers of public health services, hepatitis testing and treatment services and laboratory services for hepatitis B and C testing. It is also for local organisations providing services for children and adults at increased risk of hepatitis B and C infection, including those in the NHS, local authorities, prisons, immigration removal centres and drugs services, and for voluntary sector and community organisations working with people at increased risk.

The guidance may also be of interest to groups at increased risk of viral hepatitis, for example, migrant populations from countries with an intermediate or high prevalence of hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection or people who inject drugs and their families. In addition, other members of the public may have an interest in this guidance.

The guidance does not provide detailed recommendations on treatments for hepatitis B or C. Existing guidance on management of hepatitis B and C, and on hepatitis B vaccination, is highlighted.

The 11 recommendations cover:

  • awareness-raising among the general population and among people at increased risk of hepatitis B and C infection
  • developing the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals and others providing services for people at increased risk of hepatitis B or C infection
  • testing for hepatitis B and C in primary care, prisons and youth offender institutions, immigration removal centres, drugs services and in genitourinary medicine and sexual health clinics
  • contact tracing
  • providing and auditing neonatal hepatitis B vaccination
  • commissioning hepatitis B and C testing and treatment services
  • laboratory services for hepatitis B and C testing.

March 2013: We have amended recommendation 7 to clarify that all the actions detailed in this recommendation relate to those at increased risk of hepatitis B and C infection.

This guideline was previously called hepatitis B and C: ways to promote and offer testing to people at increased risk of infection.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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