HCV is increasingly the cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Many people living with HCV infection are unaware that they are infected and do not receive care. The CDC estimates that persons born during 1945-1965 account for three-fourths of the all HCV infections in the United States. With the development of new therapies that can halt disease progression, targeted testing and appropriate treatments are expected to reduce HCV-related morbidity and mortality.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has expanded previous recommendations for HCV screening of all persons born between the years 1945–1965 (the so-called baby-boomer generation) for HCV-infection.*
- People born from 1945-1965 are 5x more likely to have Hepatitis C. While anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75% of people with Hepatitis C were born between these years. That’s why CDC recommends that anyone born from 1945-1965 get tested for Hepatitis C.**
- Up to 75% of people with Hepatitis C don’t know they are infected. Millions of Americans have Hepatitis C, but most don’t know it. People with Hepatitis C often have no symptoms and can live with an infection for decades without feeling sick.
- Hepatitis C can cause liver damage and liver failure. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death. In fact, Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the #1 cause of liver transplants.
- All persons born between the years 1945–1965 should receive one-time testing for HCV without prior ascertainment of HCV risk.
- HCV testing should be initiated with an FDA-approved test for antibody to HCV (anti-HCV).
- An FDA-approved HCV nucleic acid test (NAT) should be used to identify active HCV infection among persons who have tested anti-HCV positive.
All persons with identified HCV infection should receive appropriate care and treatment services for HCV infection.
*Center for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR. 2012. Recommendations and Reporst/Vol.61/No.4 “Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945–1965."