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The 25th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Hepatitis C Virus: Looking Back to Look Forward

Presented on .

Twenty-five years ago CDC played a pivotal role in the discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C. After the isolation of HCV, implementation of screening of blood products and organs for donation led to a decrease in rates of HCV infection between 1990 and 2009. In spite of these successes, HCV still remains a serious threat, both domestically and abroad. HCV remains the most common chronic blood borne infection in the United States, affecting approximately 3.9 million individuals. However up to 50% of HCV-infected persons are unaware of their infection. Globally, there are 180 million people who are chronically infected with the virus, and 3-4 million new infections occur every year.

Recent therapeutic advances hold the potential to halt the progression of HCV infection and disease. While HCV-infected persons can be effectively treated, more effort is needed to screen, diagnosis, treat and provide continuity of care. This session of Public Health Grand Rounds discussed how new screening guidelines, testing methods and therapeutic advances will provide us with an opportunity to improve individual outcomes and to eventually eliminate HCV infection.

Beyond the Data
Dr. Phoebe Thorpe and Dr. John Ward discuss the latest curative breakthroughs in treating chronic Hepatitis C infection.
  • These new developments are making history in medicine.
  • The “baby boomer” generation (individuals born between 1945 and 1965) is at substantially higher risk.
  • High risk individuals should ask for a Hepatitis C screening test during their next scheduled visit.
  • Data shows that it is very cost effective to treat and cure HCV infected.
Presented By
John W. Ward, MD
Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, CDC
David L. Thomas, MD, MPH
Stanhope Bayne Jones Professor of Medicine
Chief of Infectious Diseases

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Phillip O. Coffin, MD, MIA
Director of Substance Use Research
San Francisco Department of Public Health, University of California San Francisco
Facilitated By
John Iskander, MD, MPH
Scientific Director
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH
Deputy Scientific Director
Susan Laird, MSN, RN
Communications Director
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Page last reviewed: February 28, 2018
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