Hepatitis B and C - ways to promote and offer testing: call for evidence

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been asked by the Department of Health to develop public health guidance on ways to promote and offer testing to people at greatest risk of hepatitis B and C. See the final scope for this guidance for more information.

For the purposes of the guidance the groups identified as being at most risk of chronic hepatitis B or C infection are:

  • People living in England and Wales who were born in countries with intermediate (2-8%) and high (greater than 8%) endemicity
  • People who inject drugs, including former users and those who are receiving treatment to come off drugs.

Where the evidence allows the guidance may also consider other at risk groups, for example: people who have been imprisoned, men who have sex with men, people with multiple sexual partners, those who received blood products before 1990 and those who have received medical treatment outside the UK.

To inform the development of the guidance NICE has commissioned a number of reviews and an economic analysis to identify evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of interventions to:

a) Awareness-raising among at-risk groups of the risks and consequences of chronic hepatitis B and C infection – and the potential benefits of testing and treatment.

b) Encouraging people in at-risk groups to make use of services that provide testing facilities and to consent to taking a test.

c) Reducing the barriers to hepatitis B and C testing. This could include increasing access to testing facilities, providing a choice of facilities and addressing any associated stigma, cultural or language issues. It could also include ensuring the type of sample taken is acceptable to the individual.

d) Increasing awareness of hepatitis B and C among professionals. This includes enhancing their understanding of which groups are at greatest risk and which diagnostic tests should be carried out on the initial sample to produce a clinically useful result.

e) Ensuring the ‘close contacts’ of people who have been diagnosed with hepatitis B or C take a test. Close contacts could include sexual partners, family members and others within the same household, or other people who inject drugs.

f) Communicating test results and encouraging people to take up the offer of help from appropriate services and to continue to use them (for example, by being re-tested or taking up referrals).

We would like to receive details of evidence that relate to the above aims and more specifically:

  • Focus on people who were born in countries of medium or high endemicity
  • Focus on people who may have travelled overseas
  • Sought to find cases of close contacts of chronically infected persons
  • Were delivered in community settings or involved outreach work.  
  • Were delivered in healthcare settings other than GP practices, for example in secondary care settings, GUM clinics.  
  • Where the intervention was delivered in a  prison
  • Where the intervention setting focused on  ports of entry
  • Involved the voluntary sector in delivery of the intervention
  • Involved using primary care records to identify at risk persons
  • Aimed to increase knowledge, awareness and skills of healthcare staff in relation to hepatitis B or C

Appendix B of the guidance scope lists some further issues that we anticipate the Programme Development Group (PDG) will consider in relation to the approaches considered for the guidance.

We are interested in a broad range of different types of evidence. This includes quantitative or qualitative research, published or unpublished.

Please note we not need to receive evidence on the following as they will not be covered by the guidance:

  • Evaluations of the validity of comparative diagnostic effectiveness of different types of hepatitis B or C tests
  • Alternative treatment pathways and treatments for chronic hepatitis b or C (drugs used, dosage, frequency and duration)
  • Screening programmes for hepatitis B and C
  • Immunisation of at risk groups for hepatitis B
  • Post vaccination testing for hepatitis B

In terms of published material, we are interested in identifying studies that have been published since 2000 that relate to the questions outlined above.  The studies may be published in journals, texts or monographs.  

In terms of unpublished material, we are interested in identifying unpublished manuscripts relating to research conducted since 2000, or any ongoing research that is being conducted, and which relates to the review questions outlined above. 

Please note that the following material is not eligible for consideration:

  • Promotional material
  • Undocumented assertions of effectiveness.
  • Opinion pieces
  • Forms with electronic attachments of published material, or hard copies of published material.   For copyright reasons, we cannot accept these copies.   However, if you give us the full citation, we will obtain our own copy

Instructions for published material

Please send either full reference details (which are to include author/s, title, date, journal or publication details including volume and issue number and page numbers), - not  a PDF/WORD attachment or hard copy - using this form by 5pm on Friday 9 December 2011 to HepatitisB&C@nice.org.uk.

Instructions for unpublished material

If you are aware of trials/ongoing research relevant to our questions which are in progress please could you help us to identify that information by providing relevant information such as a link to a registered trial with the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Clinical Trials), or with the US National Institutes of Health trials registry

If you wish to submit academic in confidence material (i.e. written but not yet published), or commercial in confidence (i.e. internal documentation), please could you highlight which sections are confidential by using the highlighter function in Word. Such content will not be made public.  Please refer to section 4.4 of the Process Manual for further information on submissions of confidential material.

Please use this form to send in any relevant evidence details by 5pm on Friday 9 December 2011 to HepatitisB&C@nice.org.uk.

This page was last updated: 03 October 2011