HEPscreen > What can we do about it? > Ways to offer screening > The HEPscreen Pilots > Extending existing screening programmes

Extending existing screening programmes

This method builds on existing screening programmes – either those for other infectious diseases or those that successfully reach people born in endemic countries – to include an offer of viral hepatitis screening. A good example is screening for Tuberculosis (TB), which is offered in most European countries to people from areas where TB is common.

The main advantages of this approach are:

  • It generally requires fewer resources than ‘stand alone’ viral hepatitis screening.

  • Screening for TB is generally offered by professionals with good knowledge of infectious diseases, beneficial for providing information and reassurance for people offered viral hepatitis screening

  • As it is embedded in and extends existing programmes, it could be seen as more sustainable in the long term that one off or stand alone screening.

Key considerations are that by extending TB screening, which is offered on arrival, it may only reach newly arriving or shorter stay migrants, such as university students or people with fixed term employment offers, who may then disperse geographically to a different city, region or area. Newly arriving migrants are also generally younger and have often been less exposed to HBV/HCV to public health measures (antenatal screening, vaccination or sterile medical equipment) in their countries of origin due.

Case study: TB screening in Grampian
Read about the HEPscreen pilot in Grampian, Scotland. Here, a TB screening programme aimed newly arriving university students was extended to include blood-borne virus screening (HBV/HCV and HIV).

Case-Study_Grampian_Extending-TB-Screening (300kb)

Case study: Antenatal screening in Budapest
Read about the HEPscreen pilot in Budapest, Hungary. Here, a well-established antenatal HBV screening programme was extended to include HCV. Health visitors were trained to provide appropriate and reliable information to pregnant women from HCV endemic areas. Women and their close family relatives were then offered HCV screening.

Case-Study_Antenatal-screening-in-Hungary (300kb)

'How to...' Guide
This practical guide brings together all the learning from the two HEPscreen pilots that extended an existing programme (TB screening in Grampian and antenatal HBV screening in Budapest) to offer HBV/HCV screening to people born in endemic areas. It aims to enable other to replicate the approach in another population in another area.