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Should I be screened for hepatitis C?

July 1, 2020

Ask the doctors

Q. A friend told me that I should be screened for hepatitis C. I'm not in a high-risk group. Is this really necessary?

A. If you're an adult younger than 80 years old, the answer is yes. In March, a government health advisory group, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), revised its earlier position and now recommends that all people ages 18 to 79 be screened for this "silent" virus. Prior to this change, the USPSTF recommended only that only high-risk individuals or adults born between the years 1945 and 1965 be screened. Hepatitis C can attack the liver and lead to serious liver damage and liver cancer. The condition is curable if detected. But people often don't consider themselves at risk and are unaware that they are infected, because they typically don't have symptoms.

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