by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Bulletin Volume 12, Number 47
The CDC last week recommended that all individuals considered part of the “baby boom” generation (born from 1945 through 1965) receive a one-time blood test for hepatitis C, unless they already know they've been infected.
Current CDC recommendations focus on testing individuals with known hepatitis C risk factors. However, more than 75% of American adults with hepatitis C are baby boomers and baby boomers are five times more likely than adults of other ages to be infected. Likely reasons for this disproportionate infection rate are that this generation may have received blood transfusions before screening of the blood supply began 20 years ago and because they came of age before HIV brought awareness of the risks of unprotected sex and needle sharing.
This one-time blood test will give infected individuals the opportunity to receive prompt and appropriate treatment and should avoid tens of thousands of hepatitis C-related illnesses and deaths.
For more information see CDC’s fact sheet at http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/HCV-TestingFactSheetNoEmbargo508.pdf;
And Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), “Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945-1965,” at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6104a1.htm.