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Contribution of sexual health services to hepatitis B detection and control (Netherlands, 2008–2016)


Objectives Case finding is one of the priority actions to reduce the disease burden of chronic hepatitis B (CHB). We estimated the contribution of CHB case finding at sexual health centres (SHCs) to the total national number of newly diagnosed CHB cases in the Netherlands and determined the characteristics of CHB cases detected at SHCs.

Methods This observational study used surveillance data from all outpatient SHCs in the Netherlands (SOAP database) and the number of CHB from national notification data (Osiris) from 2008 to 2016. The proportion of CHB notifications (hepatitis B surface antigen positive serology) detected at SHCs was calculated. SHC consultations without hepatitis B virus (HBV) testing (n=669 308), with acute hepatitis B diagnosis (n=73), with HBV vaccination only (n=182) or an inconclusive hepatitis B diagnosis (n=24) were excluded. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed, stratified by gender and sexual preference, to analyse patient characteristics associated with CHB.

Results During the study period, 12 149 CHB cases were notified. 405 646 SHC consultations were included in the analysis and 1452 CHB cases (0.4%) were detected at SHCs. The proportion of CHB cases detected at SHCs in relation to the national notified number ranged between 12.4% (200 of 1613) in 2008 and 10.8% (106 of 980) in 2016. 87% of CHB cases were among first-generation migrants (FGMs) originating from high endemic countries for sexually transmitted infections or men who have sex with men (MSM). In multivariable analysis, an older age category, migration background and being a commercial sex worker (CSW) were associated with CHB in all stratified analyses.

Conclusions The contribution of SHCs is relevant to case finding of CHB in the Netherlands. SHCs should therefore be considered as an important health setting to screen for HBV in high-risk groups, especially among MSM, CSW and FGM, to achieve a reduction in the HBV-related disease burden.

  • Preventive Health Services

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The study protocol, raw data and code are available on reasonable request. Data are available on reasonable request, and can be requested by email to the corresponding author.

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