What are the CDC recommendations on screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in adults?

Updated: Jun 08, 2021
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Some controversy exists regarding screening for HCV infections in adults. In August 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded their existing, risk-based testing guidelines to recommend a 1-time blood test for HCV infection in baby boomers—the generation born between 1945 and 1965, who account for approximately three fourths of all chronic HCV infections in the United States—without prior ascertainment of HCV risk (see Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945-1965.) [49]

The recommendations noted that 1-time HCV testing in baby boom population could identify nearly 808,600 additional people with chronic infection; thus, the CDC recommended that all individuals identified with HCV should be screened and/or managed for alcohol abuse, followed by referral to preventative and/or treatment services, as appropriate. [49]

However, in a systematic review for the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), Chou et al noted that despite the accuracy of screening tests in identifying asymptomatic adults with chronic HCV infection, screening strategies that target multiple risk factors can miss some of these patients. [50] They recommended further investigation to determine the effects of different HCV screening strategies on diagnostic yield and clinical outcomes.

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