The guidelines are changing when it comes to screening for hepatitis C, a silent viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver failure. Back in 2012, the CDC recommended a one-time hepatitis C screening for the so-called baby boomer generation (anyone born between 1945 and 1965), a group that made up about 75% of all hepatitis C cases at that time. The following year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) agreed. Now the USPSTF is expanding the screening age to all adults ages 18 to 79. The move is meant to identify more people in early stages of infection and comes as hepatitis C cases have increased almost fourfold since 2010. The USPSTF also advises screening for people outside of the recommended age range if they have ever used injected drugs. The recommendations were published online March 2, 2020, by JAMA. The CDC is in the process of developing similar recommendations. The screening requires only a simple blood test.
Image: jarun011/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.