BBV screening (also called pre/post test counseling) is a frank discussion between a young person and their Doctor or a trained nurse about behaviour they have engaged in that may have exposed them to a BBV. During this conversation, blood may be taken for testing and a follow up appointment arranged to discuss the results. Comprehensive screening may result in a Doctor and young person deciding that blood testing is not necessary (low risk) or to delay testing.
The Australian Society of HIV Medicine testing and screening guidelines are based on prevalence rates of various diseases in different communities. As a minimum a sexually active young person should be screened for chlamydia, and consideration for screening for BBV’s is indicated if they:
- inject drugs
- have sex with someone who injects drugs
- are a man who has sex with men
- are a sex worker
- have a sexual partner from Asia, Africa or South America
- are a sexually active traveler and have just returned from Asia, Africa or South America
From time to time, young people raise concerns about BBV transmission via biting. Though there are some instances of transmission via biting, evidence is scarce. Blood in the mouth prior to the bite and biting already broken skin increase risk. There is a theoretical risk, but the risk is quite negligible and the need to test should be assessed on a case by case basis.