Adults should get tested for hepatitis B at least once, CDC recommends
(CNN) - A new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests all adults get tested for hepatitis B at least once in their lifetime.
Hepatitis B is an illness linked to liver disease and cancer.
The CDC estimates 500,000 to 2.5 million people live with hepatitis B, and two-thirds of them might not know about their infection.
It spreads through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids that can happen during sex, pregnancy or delivery or by injecting drugs.
The CDC’s previous recommendation for testing was made 15 years ago, in 2008.
At that time they urged testing for anyone at high risk, which includes people who are incarcerated, have multiple sex partners or have a history of hepatitis C infection. Those people should be tested periodically.
Now the agency recommends screening for everyone 18 and older at least once.
Several medications are available to treat people with chronic hepatitis B.
There is also a highly effective vaccine against the infection.
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