CLARK, N.J., Feb. 9, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Chronic Liver Disease Foundation ( CLDF ), a leading educational organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the effect of chronic liver disease (CLD) in the United States, issued today a position paper in support of expanding screening for hepatitis C (HCV) in the United States.
The position paper, ” Endorsement of Birth-Cohort Approach to Expand Screening for Hepatitis C ,” outlines the CLDF’s recommendations for a more effective strategy to identify patients with HCV infection and link such patients to expert care and treatment.
HCV is the most common blood-borne chronic viral infection in the U.S., with more than four million Americans currently infected with the HCV virus. Of these, up to 75 percent are unaware of their infection. Individuals born between the years of 1945 and 1965 have an HCV prevalence level four times higher than those born outside the birth cohort.
While the CDC currently recommends HCV screening only for individuals found to be at risk for the HCV infection, it is currently evaluating the potential benefits of using a birth-cohort based approach to HCV screening to help increase identification of HCV-positive patients.
The CLDF issued the following recommendations in support of the expansion of HCV screening efforts:
Routine screening for HCV among persons born between 1945 and 1965
Use of the OraQuick HCV rapid point-of-care test to expand testing opportunities and facilitate immediate care
Educational programs aimed at primary care providers to increase awareness of HCV risk factors
Testing for HCV in primary care setting with established linkages to HCV
Creative ways to increase access to HCV testing and care for injection-drug users and other underserved populations.
“Today, more than 4 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C and the vast majority does not know it,” said