The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new recommendation for universal hepatitis B screening of all adults. This recommendation comes in response to the high prevalence of the virus in the United States, and the need for early detection and treatment to prevent long-term health consequences.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver, and is transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids from an infected person. Chronic infection with hepatitis B can lead to liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer, and is a leading cause of liver disease worldwide.

In the United States, an estimated 2.2 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B, and up to two-thirds of those infected are unaware of their status. This lack of awareness means that many people are not receiving the treatment they need to prevent long-term health consequences.

The new CDC recommendation calls for universal hepatitis B screening of all adults, regardless of risk factors. This is a departure from previous guidelines, which only recommended screening for individuals at high risk of infection, such as those born in regions with high prevalence of hepatitis B, or those who engage in high-risk behaviours such as injection drug use or unprotected sex with multiple partners.

The CDC cites several reasons for this change in recommendation. First, the prevalence of hepatitis B in the United States has remained high, despite efforts to reduce transmission. Second, the cost of screening has decreased, making universal screening more feasible. And third, early detection and treatment of hepatitis B can prevent long-term health consequences and reduce transmission to others.

The CDC recommendation highlights the importance of hepatitis B screening and early detection in the fight against liver disease. With early diagnosis and treatment, people living with chronic hepatitis B can live long, healthy lives and avoid the devastating consequences of advanced liver disease.

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