All healthcare workers, including all workers and students directly caring for patients, or handling human tissue, blood or body fluids are recommended to receive hepatitis B vaccination.11
Information and recommendations concerning hepatitis B vaccination and serological testing of healthcare workers can be found online in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Advice is provided for non-responders to hepatitis B vaccine. Persistent non responders to hepatitis B vaccination are considered non immune to hepatitis B.11
The Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses, provide hepatitis B testing recommendations for healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures and healthcare workers living with hepatitis B.38
As for all tests where testing of a healthcare worker is undertaken, confidentiality needs to be maintained. Health-care workers who are exposed to blood borne viruses should have access to testing and counselling in their practice, institution or through specialist referral. They should not be required to request or perform tests on themselves. Health-care workers who are known to be living with blood borne viruses should be in the care of their own medical practitioner and should not initiate diagnostic tests on themselves.
Support and advice for healthcare workers living with a blood borne virus is available from their specialist college or from the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine at www.ashm.org.au.