Hepatitis C virus is the most common chronic blood-borne pathogen in the United States and the leading cause of complications from chronic liver disease. It can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.
Family Care Network follows national guidelines recommending that patients born between 1945 and 1965 are offered a one-time screening for hepatitis C, because there is a higher rate of infection in this age group, even in adults without symptoms or with a low risk of infection.
Symptoms of hepatitis C can take decades to develop. One-time screening for hepatitis C virus infection may identify infected patients at earlier stages of the disease who could benefit from treatment before developing complications from liver damage.
Screening is a simple blood test for an antibody to the hepatitis C virus. If this is positive, it is followed by a second test to confirm. Patients who test positive have good treatment options and high cure rates.
If you were born between 1945 and 1965 and have not been screened for hepatitis C, ask your doctor about this important test.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis
American Liver Foundation: hepc.liverfoundation.org