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Hepatitis Foundation International Supports U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for
Hepatitis B Screening Recommendation

New Recommendation Prioritizes Hepatitis B Testing in High-Risk Communities 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4, 2014 — Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI) strongly supports the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation to support screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in high-risk communities. 

Karen Wirth, HFI Board Chair stated, “As a mother of a son that was diagnosed as a chronic Hepatitis B (HBV) carrier with cirrhosis, I am so pleased with the Task Force’s final recommendation statement and the Foundation looks forward to stand ready to marshal our resources and constituents to ensure this recommendation is fully implemented. Ms. Wirth further stated, “I have spent over 18 years advocating and testifying before Congressional committees and state legislatures regarding the need for mandated HBV vaccines and this recommendation is a personal dream I get to see fulfilled.”

Hepatitis B screening involves simple blood tests that look for certain antibodies. Earlier detection can help reduce the spread of the infection. It is thought that between 700,000 and two million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B infections. The Task Force concluded that those people identified as part of high risk for infection should be tested. The population groups considered high risk for infection are:

  • People who were born in countries where hepatitis B is common
  • U.S.-born people who were not vaccinated against hepatitis B when they were babies and whose parents came from countries where hepatitis B is common
  • People with HIV infection, who have a weakened immune system, or are being treated for kidney failure with dialysis
  • Injection drug users
  • People living with or having sex with people with hepatitis B
  • Men who have sex with men

If left untreated, up to 25% of persons with hepatitis B develop serious liver problems, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Liver cancer is the second leading cause of liver cancer worldwide and a disproportionate number upwards to 80% of these cases are due to HBV infections. Testing, therefore, is critical to identifying people living with chronic hepatitis B so they can receive life-saving care and treatment to reduce the enormous burden of disease and premature death. 

The Task Force’s final recommendation statement can be viewed at

About HFI

The Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 1994 working to eradicate chronic hepatitis for 500 million people globally. HFI is dedicated to increasing and promoting health and wellness; reducing the incidence of preventable liver-related chronic diseases, and lifestyles that negatively impacts the liver.  Some of these diseases include; obesity, diabetes, hepatitis, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease and fatty/liver cancer.  The HFI reaches well over 5 million patients and health care professionals annually through our public and private partnerships.