Hepatitis C Testing for Anyone Born During 1945-1965: New CDC Recommendations
What is the new Hepatitis C testing recommendation?CDC is recommending that everyone born during 1945 through 1965, also known as baby boomers, get a blood test for Hepatitis C. This recommendation calls for one-time testing of baby boomers.
What should baby boomers know about Hepatitis C?Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. For some people, the disease can cause serious health problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even death. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the leading reason for liver transplants.
People with Hepatitis C:
- Often have no symptoms
- Can live for decades without feeling sick
- Can be successfully treated with medications
This Hepatitis C testing recommendation was made because:
- There are high rates of Hepatitis C in people born during 1945-1965.
People born during 1945 through 1965 are 5 times more likely than other adults to be infected. In fact, 75% of adults with Hepatitis C were born in these years. The reasons why baby boomers have the highest rates of Hepatitis C are not completely understood.
- Testing can help prevent deaths from Hepatitis C.
The numbers of people who will develop serious health problems and die from Hepatitis C are expected to rise rapidly in the coming years. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. It is estimated that one-time testing of everyone born during 1945 through 1965 will prevent more than 120,000 deaths.
- There is a lack of awareness.
Many people with Hepatitis C do not know that they have Hepatitis C. One-time testing of everyone born during 1945 through 1965 would find an estimated 800,000 undiagnosed Hepatitis C cases.
- There have been recent advances in treatment.
Two new medicines are now available, that when added to the standard treatment can increase the effectiveness and shorten treatment time for many people. For many people with Hepatitis C, medical treatment can result in the virus no longer being detected in the blood. This is referred to as a sustained viral response or SVR.
Will health plans cover the cost of the test?Since health care plans vary by state and provider, individuals are encouraged to check with their specific plans about coverage.
- Know More Hepatitis – CDC's Hepatitis C Educational Campaign
- Fact sheet [PDF - 1.6 MB] – Chronic Hepatitis C: Why Baby Boomers Should Get Tested
- CDC's Viral Hepatitis site
- Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945–1965