Current hepatitis B testing practice is voluntary testing promoted by symptoms or risk assessment, with mandatory testing in some conditions (such as blood donation). However, there are missed opportunities for hepatitis B testing.
Overseas born migrants are assessed against health requirements at immigration medical examination; if the cost exceeds a threshold, then the likelihood of the visa application being rejected is high. From July 2019, the threshold was increased to AUD$49,000 over a ten-year time span.
This new threshold means that most applicants living with chronic hepatitis B will remain eligible, even if taking hepatitis B treatment. This change posed an opportunity to assess the approach of providing hepatitis B tests to potential new migrants from endemic countries to ensure people are diagnosed as early as possible and ensure timely linkage to care.
This project aimed to assess strategies of:
1) a general population testing approach, i.e. offering a test to every individual in an eligible group, usually defined by age or could be anyone presents to a GP
2) a hepatitis B testing program for new migrants in Australia.
Meet the project team. Together, we are translating research into better health, for all.