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Investigating HCV Infection Awareness Prior to NHANES Tests


Monique Foster, MD, MPH, EIS officer, Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains that hepatitis C infection awareness has been on the rise in the United States.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“[In our research] we looked at the National Health and Nutrition [Examination] Survey that goes around every year. It’s a bus and it goes all over the country and interviews and takes blood specimens and other specimens [from] about 5,000 people a year to determine if we could see the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in that cohort of people.
In the years between 2001 and 2012, people who tested positive for hepatitis C antibody [had] a follow-up interview over the telephone to determine if they were aware of their status before the bus came around and took their blood, and if they were aware of their status, what kind of medical treatment they sought.
Our findings, from comparing the years of 2001 to 2006 and 2007 to 2012 showed that in 2001 to 2006, about 50% of people were aware that they were infected with hepatitis C prior to examination by the National Health and Nutrition Survey. That increased to 59% from 2007 to 2012, which makes us hope that more people are aware of their infection status when it comes to hepatitis C.
We looked at the care cascade as well, and we found that [among] people in the earlier years of the survey, 2001 to 2006 participants, about 7% completed treatment for their hepatitis C infection. Then, when you look at the years [2007] to 2012, that rises to about 22%.
We’re hopeful that more people are aware of their infection status with hepatitis C, and therefore, more people are getting treated, [especially that] It’s a curative treatment now, for this virus.”
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