The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has posted a draft recommendation statement on screening for hepatitis C virus infection in adults.
For adults at high risk, including those with any history of intravenous drug use and people who received blood transfusions prior to 1992, the Task Force proposes screening for HCV infection. The Task Force also said clinicians should consider screening adults born between 1945 and 1965.
Millions of people in the United States are infected with HCV, and many are unaware of their condition, in large part because they may not have any symptoms, according to a Task Force statement. HCV infection is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer and liver transplants.
“Since symptoms may not appear until decades after a person is infected, detection and treatment can help prevent liver damage, liver cancer and deaths from hepatitis C,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, a Task Force member, said in a news release.
In recent years, there have been substantial advances in the effectiveness of treatment for hepatitis C. These advances also have reduced the potential side effects and harms of diagnosis and treatment, the Task Force noted.
“Based on what we know today, the Task Force concluded that screening provides substantial benefits for people at high risk,” Bibbins-Domingo said. “We also found that screening people from the baby boom generation also provides real, although smaller, benefits.”
Comments on the draft recommendation statement can be submitted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 24. All public comments will be considered as the Task Force develops its final recommendation.
For more information on the draft recommendation and to comment, visit www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/draftrec2.htm.