Hepatitis C Testing in the Birth Cohort 1945 - 1965: Have you been tested?

Following is an excerpt from the policy brief "Hepatitis C Testing in the Birth Cohort 1945 - 1965 : Have you been tested?" published by the American Academy of Nursing on July 28, 2014, World Hepatitis Day.

Executive SummaryIn July 2012 , t he American Academy of Nursing endorsed the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Emerging Infectious Diseases to accelerate efforts to remove barriers for hepatit is C screening and testing (Zucker, 2012). One month later the CDC announced its recommendation for the "Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection among Persons Born During 1945 – 1965.” These Baby Boomers account for 76.5% of HCV cases in the United States (MMWR, 2012). Unfortunately, the stigma of injection drug use has been a major factor that has limited the success of current risk - based testing strategies (Treloar, C. & Rhodes, R. (2009). Of the estimated 2.7 – 3.9 million persons living wit h hepatitis C virus ( HCV ) infection in the United States, one study found that 72% of persons with a history of injection - drug use who are infected with HCV remain unaware of their infection status (Hagan, 2006). Barriers to testing include inadequate hea lth insurance coverage and limited access to regular health care, despite having insurance coverage. Zucker (2012) previously identified the following barriers to care for patients with viral hepatitis: 1) unclear definition of “acute” HCV and how this impacts surveillance; 2) limited federal support for surveillance services and different systems for monitoring; 3) lack of a universal immunization registry; and 4) limited resources to support hepatitis A and B vaccination. Additional barriers to care have been the treatment - ineligibility of patients with significant co - morbidity, treatment that was ineffective in large numbers of patients who experience great morbidity, and the challenges of getting African Americans into treatment.

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