Community-Based Services to Improve Testing and Linkage to Care Among Non-U.S.-Born Persons with Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection - Three U.S. Programs, October 2014-September 2017.

Research paper by Aaron M AM Harris, Ruth R Link-Gelles, Karen K Kim, Edwin E Chandrasekar, Su S Wang, Nicole N Bannister, Perry P Pong, Eric E Chak, Moon S MS Chen, Christopher C Bowlus, Noele P NP Nelson

Indexed on: 18 May '18Published on: 18 May '18Published in: MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report


Among an estimated 850,000 to 2.2 million persons with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the United States, 70% are non-U.S.-born (1,2). All patients require linkage to care, and approximately 20%-40% require antiviral treatment (3). Without treatment, one in four persons chronically infected with HBV will die prematurely from liver failure, liver cirrhosis, or hepatocellular carcinoma (4). To mitigate morbidity and mortality, CDC funded a cooperative agreement to develop hepatitis B testing and linkage-to-care programs serving non-U.S.-born persons during October 2014-September 2017. This report describes each program's operational services and partnerships with primary care centers, community-based organizations, and public health departments to recruit non-U.S.-born persons for HBV testing using the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and link those whose test results were positive to HBV-directed care (medical visit attendance with monitoring of HBV DNA and liver enzyme tests). Among 10,152 program participants, 757 (7.5%) were HBsAg-positive, indicative of chronic HBV infection; among these, 643 (85%) attended ≥1 medical visit, 587 (78%) received HBV-directed care, and 137 (18%) were prescribed antiviral treatment. Among 273 household contacts of HBsAg-positive persons, 39 (14%) had positive test results for HBsAg. Prevalence of current HBV infection was high in this non-U.S.-born population and among household and sexual contacts of HBV-infected persons. HBV testing and linkage to care can be achieved through partnerships with community organizations, health centers, and public health departments.