People Born 1945-1965 (Baby Boomers)
CDC Recommendation: Adults Born from 1945-1965 (Baby Boomers) get Tested for Hepatitis C
In addition to testing adults of all ages at risk for hepatitis C virus infection, CDC recommends:
- All adults born during 1945–1965 receive one-time testing for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
- Testing should begin with anti-HCV. If the anti-HCV test is positive, or reactive, then a nucleic acid test (NAT) should follow.
- All persons identified with current HCV infection should receive a brief alcohol screening and intervention as clinically indicated, followed by referral to appropriate care and treatment services.
Key Facts about People Born 1945-1965 (Baby Boomers) and Hepatitis C
- Of the estimated 3.2 million people chronically infected with hepatitis C in the U.S., approximately 75% were born during 1945-1965.
- National prevalence data show that people born during these years are five times more likely than other adults to be infected with HCV.
- Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the leading cause of liver transplants; people born during 1945-1965 account for 73% of all hepatitis C- associated mortality.
Rationale for Recommendation
- There is a high prevalence of hepatitis C in people born during 1945–1965, with 75% of people with hepatitis C born during these years.
- There is increasing HCV-associated morbidity and mortality, as annual HCV-associated mortality in the US increased more than 50% from 1999 to 2007. People born 1945-1965 with hepatitis C face increasing hepatitis C-associated morbidity and mortality.
- A high proportion of people with hepatitis C do not know that they are infected (estimates range from 45%-85%).
- Testing based solely on elevated ALT levels is estimated to miss 50% of chronic infections.
- For those who are chronically infected, clinical preventive services including regular medical monitoring, hepatitis A and B vaccination, and behavior changes like alcohol reduction/cessation and achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI can improve health outcomes for people with hepatitis C.
- New therapies, including interferon-free regimens, can halt disease progression cure most infected with hepatitis C. These treatment options increase the effectiveness and reduce the duration of therapy for many patients.
- One-time testing of those born 1945-1965 is estimated to identify 800,000 infections and, with linkage to care and treatment, avert more than 120,000 HCV-related deaths. This strategy is estimated to save $1.5-$7.1 billion in liver disease-related costs.
Guidelines and Recommendations
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection
USPSTF recommends screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in persons at high risk for infection and offering one-time screening for HCV infection to adults born during 1945-1965. Grade: B Recommendation.
- CDC’s Know More Hepatitis campaign, targeting people born 1945-1965 to get tested for hepatitis C
- Page last reviewed: September 19, 2017
- Page last updated: September 19, 2017
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