USPSTF Releases Hepatitis C Screening Recommendations

Content From: Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: June 25, 20132 min read


Ronald Valdiserri Dr. Ronald ValdiserriThe new Recommendation StatementExit Disclaimer on screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task ForceExit Disclaimer (USPSTF) this week represents a critical step toward achieving the prevention, care and treatment goals outlined in the federal government’s Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. The new recommendation updates and expands the 2004 USPSTF recommendation, giving a “Grade B” recommendation for HCV screening in persons at high risk for infection while now also including one-time screening for HCV infection in adults born between 1945 and 1965 in that recommendation. (Read the complete new USPSTF HCV screening recommendationsExit Disclaimer.)USPSTF HepatitisCreating more standard, consistent federal recommendations on hepatitis C testing was, in fact, one of the strategies articulated in the Action Plan. The new USPSTF Recommendation Statement aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945–1965 , issued in 2012. In that document, the CDC recommended that in addition to offering screening for persons at high risk, all adults born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened once for HCV. These aligned recommendations from USPSTF and CDC send a clear signal to health care professionals, policymakers, and the public that screening for HCV is effective and should be conducted. It is hoped that this alignment of recommendations will reduce confusion among healthcare providers, increase awareness of the importance of hepatitis C screening and improve testing rates—ultimately identifying millions of Americans previously unaware of their infection status and preventing the associated liver disease and deaths attributable to undiagnosed chronic HCV infection.

For more information about the new recommendation, see these resources: