Expanded Hepatitis C Virus Screening Recommendations Will Aid Prevention Efforts

This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its final recommendations for screening for hepatitis C virus infection. This represents a critical step toward achieving the prevention goals outlined in the Health and Human Services action plan.

The USPSTF recommends screening for hepatitis C infection in persons at high risk for infection and recommends offering one-time screening to adults born between 1945 and 1965. The independently derived yet similar recommendations for hepatitis C testing from the USPSTF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) send a clear signal to health care professionals, policy makers and the public that screening for hepatitis C is beneficial for both patients and the public health. Taken together, the reforms in the health care systems and newly expanded hepatitis C screening recommendations will help generate the momentum needed to identify millions of Americans previously unaware of their infection status, preventing liver disease and deaths attributable to chronic hepatitis C infections.

Going forward, public health efforts can focus on ensuring capacity for the delivery of clinical preventive services that can reduce missed opportunities for hepatitis C diagnosis and linkage to care and treatment. The comprehensive USPSTF and CDC screening strategies create new opportunities for reaching the shared goals of reducing hepatitis C transmission and facilitating care and treatment for people diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Learn More about the USPSTF Recommendation
USPSTF Recommendations
USPSTF Media Release
Annals of Internal Medicine Editorial

Learn More about CDC and Viral Hepatitis

About the Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition
In partnership with the CDC Foundation, the Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition has made a commitment to help CDC make meaningful advances in the prevention, screening and treatment of viral hepatitis. 

John W. Ward, MD is the director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.