November 11, 2014

Does Screening Baby Boomers for Hepatitis C Work?

Attention: Medical & Science Editors/Producers

Media Contact: Gregory Bologna
703-299-9766
gbologna@aasld.org
Press Room: November 7 – 11, 2014
Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
Telephone: 617-954-2977

Researcher: National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
+1 404-639-8895
NCHHSTPMediaTeam@cdc.gov

For Immediate Release
Presented: Tuesday, November 11 2015, 8:15 am Eastern

Does Screening Baby Boomers for Hepatitis C Work?

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases reported that the current age-based screening recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is five times more effective in identifying people currently or previously infected with hepatitis C virus when compared to the previous screening strategy.

The CDC currently recommends a one-time birth cohort or age-based screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV). All baby boomers -- those born between 1945 and 1965 -- should be tested for HCV. Older screening strategies relied on identifying populations at greater risk for having HCV.

While the study did not evaluate the uptake of the CDC recommendation, the study authors conclude that the results demonstrate that the implementation of birth cohort testing in the primary care setting is feasible and can be effective.

A vast majority (81 percent) of Americans living with chronic HCV are baby boomers. In that group, 2.6 percent -- or 2.16 million people -- have chronic infection yet many don’t know they have it and cannot benefit from life-saving care and treatment.

Researchers conducted birth cohort testing trials for 14 months (December 2012-February 2014) at three large primary care healthcare centers. Baby boomer patients were randomly assigned to a group and automatically tested based on the birth cohort screening recommendation or to a control group based on the previous screening strategies. Almost 33,000 patients were screened using the birth cohort recommendation or control group.

While this is the first clinical study that provides real-world evidence that the baby boomer recommendations can be implemented in practice and will result in a significant increase in new HCV diagnoses, monitoring of the recommendations will continue to be important.
Abstract title:
Effectiveness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing for persons born during 1945-1965 -- Summary results from three randomized controlled trials

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AASLD is the leading medical organization for advancing the science and practice of hepatology. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD's vision is to prevent and cure liver diseases. This year's Liver Meeting®, held in Boston, November 7-11, will bring together more than 9,000 researchers from 55 countries.

A pressroom will be available from November 7 at the annual meeting. For copies of abstracts and press releases, or to arrange researcher interviews, contact Gregory Bologna at 703-299-9766.

Press releases and all abstracts are available online at www.aasld.org.

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