National HBV Testing Policy


HBV Testing Policy v1.1 -> v1.2

The Expert Reference Committee met via teleconference from October 2015 to March 2016 to review the National Hepatitis B Testing Policy 2012 v1.1. Each section of the Testing Policy was systematically reviewed during these conversations. The recommended changes were incorporated in the revised National Hepatitis B Testing Policy v1.2

Most of the amendments made were minor wording changes to aid clarification, revisions to include reference to The 2nd National Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2017 and The Fourth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Virus & Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2014-2017, and updates to statistical information. Other more significant changes made included:

Section 1.4.2 Mandatory or compulsory testing

  • Testing for HBV is no longer a mandatory condition for performing exposure prone procedures

Section 2.1 Types of hepatitis B diagnostic tests

  • Noted that hepatitis B genotype / mutation conferring resistance is not Medicare rebatable and a fee may be payable
  • Recommending that, when determining protective immunity or its absence in at-risk groups, if anti-HBs is negative should also test for HBsAg and anti-HBc to exclude undiagnosed infection or distant past infection
  • Recommending that, when testing in antenatal women, if possible also perform anti-HBs, to assess the need for vaccination
  • Section amended to state that there are no HBsAg point-of-care (PoC) tests currently approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for inclusion on the ARTG. If people in the community indicate they have received a positive or negative PoC test  from overseas the result should be confirmed by standard HBV testing in a NATA certified diagnostic laboratory

Section 3.0 Indications for HBV testing

  • Children of women who are HBsAg positive added to the list of contexts where clinical suspicion of HBV infection may occur

Section 3.1.3 All patients undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy

  • Amended to include more detail on the types of situations, risks and intentions behind testing and treatment in this patient group

Section 4.0 Informed consent for testing

  • Clarification added that informed consent must be obtained for HBV testing

Section 5.6.5 Post mortem testing

  • This section has been removed

Section 8.1 Routine testing (antenatal and perinatal testing)

  • Section amended to state that an experienced clinician should assess any woman diagnosed with hepatitis B infection in pregnancy  rather than stating should be referred to a gastroenterologist, hepatologist or Infectious Diseases Unit


Updated version:  2015 National HBV Testing Policy v1.2

Previous version:  2012 National HBV Testing Policy v1.1

Download HBV Testing Policy

Download the full
National HBV Testing Policy v1.2 (PDF)

See what’s changed from the previous version.




Development of this site and the 2014 and 2017 revisions of the testing policies was supported by: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing