June 1, 2020
National Center for Health Research’s Public Comments on USPSTF’s Draft Recommendation Statement Regarding Screening for Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Nonpregnant Adolescents and Adults
We are writing to express our views regarding the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) draft recommendation for hepatitis B virus infection screening in nonpregnant adolescents and adults.
The National Center for Health Research is a nonprofit research center that analyzes and reviews research on a range of health issues, with particular focus on which treatment and prevention strategies are most effective for patients and consumers. We do not accept funding from companies that make products that are the subject of our work.
We agree with the “B” grade to recommend hepatitis B virus infection screening in nonpregnant adolescents and adults at an increased risk for infection. Screening tests can accurately identify patients with an infection and treatments are effective. As stated in the Recommendation Statement, 60% of individuals with hepatitis B are asymptomatic and unaware of their illness, which can increase long-term risk for liver failure, liver cancer, and death.
However, there is discrimination and stigma associated with a hepatitis B diagnosis. Recent studies show that the manner in which a healthcare provider presents health information can either be effective at promoting screening and other medical interventions, or it can discourage patients from getting the care they need and result in distrust of a healthcare provider. [1,2] We therefore urge the USPSTF to include information for how healthcare providers can most effectively discuss screening with patients that are deemed at-risk for hepatitis B.
The National Center for Health Research can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 223-4000.
 Kreuter MW, Sugg-Skinner C, Holt CL, Clark EM, Haire-Joshu D, Fu Q, Booker AC, Steger-May K, Bucholtz D. Cultural tailoring for mammography and fruit and vegetable intake among low-income African-American women in urban public health centers. Preventive medicine. 2005; 41(1):53-62.
 Derricks V, Earl A. Information targeting increases the weight of stigma: Leveraging relevance backfires when people feel judged. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2019; 82:277-93.