Tracking the uptake of outcomes of hepatitis B virus testing using laboratory data in Victoria, 2011-16: A population-level cohort study

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Background: A priority area in the 2016 Victorian Hepatitis B Strategy is to increase diagnostic testing. This study describes hepatitis B testing and positivity trends in Victoria between 2011 and 2016 using data from a national laboratory sentinel surveillance system. Methods: Line-listed diagnostic and monitoring hepatitis B testing data among Victorian individuals were collated from six laboratories participating in the Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance (ACCESS) of sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses. Diagnostic tests included hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-only tests and guideline-based hepatitis B tests (defined as a single test event for HBsAg, hepatitis B surface antibody and hepatitis B core antibody). Using available data, the outcomes of testing and/or infection were further classified. Measures reported include the total number of HBsAg and guideline-based tests conducted and the proportion positive, classified as either HBsAg positive or chronic hepatitis B infection. Results: The number of HBsAg tests decreased slightly each year between 2011 and 2016 (from 91 043 in 2011 to 79 664 in 2016; P < 0.001), whereas the number of guideline-based hepatitis B tests increased (from 8732 in 2011 to 16 085 in 2016; P <0.001). The proportion of individuals classified as having chronic infection decreased from 25% in 2011 to 7% in 2016, whereas the proportion classified as susceptible and immune due to vaccination increased (from 29% to 39%, and from 27% to 34%, respectively; P < 0.001). Conclusions: The study findings indicate an increased uptake of guideline-based hepatitis B testing. The ongoing collection of testing data can help monitor progress towards implementation of the Victorian Hepatitis B Strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-366
Number of pages9
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding received for ACCESS from the Australian Department of Health, as well as additional support from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and NSW Health. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the contribution of pathology laboratories that have agreed to participate in this study. Caroline van Gemert was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. Margaret Hellard is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship. The Burnet Institute gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program to this work. This research did not receive any specific funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 CSIRO.


  • communicable disease control
  • surveillance
  • viral hepatitis


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