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CDC Urges Hepatitis C Testing for All Baby Boomers

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 17, 2012

Smith says that testing is very inexpensive, and is generally covered under health plans. Treatment for the disease, however, may cost $60,000 and coverage depends on the health plan.  The good news is that newer drugs have been shown to eradicate the virus in three out of four chronically infected patients.

CDC recommendations issued in 1998 for hepatitis C testing were limited only to those people with specific risk factors such as high-risk sexual activity, injection drug use or exposure to potentially infected blood or hemodialysis, or had laboratory evidence of liver disease.

Capturing additional infected individuals may save lives and reduce progression of liver damage. For example, since use of alcohol may exacerbate clinical symptoms of hepatitis C, patients who know they are infected may be counseled to reduce consumption.

The guidelines and fact sheet are published in the Aug. 17 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and in this week's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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2 comments on "CDC Urges Hep C Testing for Boomers"


Linda (8/22/2012 at 2:50 PM)
As I understand it the baby boomer years are 1946-1964. Why are they different here?

Crista (8/20/2012 at 9:34 PM)
Those treatements only work if the patient is willing to follow the entire treatment the way it is supposed to be taken. I've watched a woman go through two of the three treatments she has taken and both times she stopped way too early. The first time, the doctor stopped her with 6 months of treatment left (as soon as it was nondectable) and within 6 months it was back and worse. The second treatment, she stopped it prior to finishing it. I feel bad for her, but she needed to have finished the treatment.