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New Recommendations on Screening for Hepatitis C in Adults

Baby boomers should get one-time check-up (June 25)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has released its final recommendation statement on screening for hepatitis C virus infection in adults.

Based on the latest evidence, the Task Force recommends regular hepatitis C screening for adults at risk of infection, including people who currently use injection drugs or have in the past, as well as people who received a blood transfusion before 1992. The Task Force also recommends one-time hepatitis C screening for all adults born between 1945 and 1965.

“Baby boomers account for three out of four people with hepatitis C,” says Task Force co-chair Albert Siu, MD, MSPH. “Many people in this age group contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion or unknown or unreported high-risk behaviors. Even though they may have no symptoms yet, the evidence is convincing that one-time screening will help find millions of Americans with the infection before they develop a serious liver disease.”

This recommendation applies to all asymptomatic adults without known liver disease or functional abnormalities. The Task Force recommendation notes that screening should be voluntary, and before screening patients should receive an explanation of hepatitis C infection and the meaning of positive and negative test results, an opportunity to ask questions, and the chance to decline testing.

The Task Force’s recommendations were published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine as well as on the Task Force Web site.

Source: USPSTF; June 25, 2013.

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