Monique Foster, MD, MPH, EIS officer, Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discusses the CDC’s HCV universal birth cohort testing program.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“The [CDC] has implemented universal birth cohort testing, so anyone born between 1945 and 1965 should be tested for hepatitis C virus at least once despite any risk factors. Of course if someone has risk factors such as intravenous drug use [or] incarceration, those people should be tested as well.
We’re hoping that [with] universal testing recommendations, people won’t have to ask their doctors to be tested, it will be automatic, and they could know their status that way. It’s really helpful for physicians and health practitioners to adhere to those recommendations, and even if they think that the person in front of them may not have risk factors, if [the patient is] born between the years of 1945 and 1965 to at least test them once, because 75% of all hepatitis C infections in the US are in people who are born in that 20-year timeframe; [therefore], it’s really important for that group to be aware of their status.
Also, I know that it’s difficult, [as] I’m a clinician myself, to take time out of your busy schedule. You have so many things to do, there are so many recommendations in a 15-minute visit, but this would be very, very helpful to help us get people into treatment for what is now a completely treatable chronic disease and hopefully lower the incidences of liver cirrhosis, failure and transplantation here in the US.”
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