Testing and diagnosis of hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) infection is the gateway for access to both prevention and treatment services, and is a crucial component of an effective response to the hepatitis epidemic. Early identification of persons with chronic HBV or HCV infection enables them to receive the necessary care and treatment to prevent or delay progression of liver disease. Testing also provides an opportunity to link people to interventions to reduce transmission, through counselling on risk behaviours and provision of prevention commodities (such as sterile needles and syringes) and hepatitis B vaccination.
These are the first WHO guidelines on testing for chronic HBV and HCV infection and complement published guidance by WHO on the prevention, care and treatment of chronic hepatitis C and hepatitis B infection. These guidelines outline the public health approach to strengthening and expanding current testing practices for HBV and HCV, and are intended for use across age groups and populations.