Friday, November 9, 2018

Universal HCV Screening on the Way?

Gastroenterology > Hepatitis 

Universal HCV Screening on the Way?
Move afoot to recommend testing for everyone regardless of perceived risk
by Sony Salzman, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today
November 09, 2018
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common bloodborne infection in the United States. In 2014, it killed more Americans than any other infectious disease. Rates of acute hepatitis C quadrupled from 2010 to 2016.  Yet despite the high prevalence of HCV, the CDC estimates that about half of people living with the virus don't know they're infected...
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The Liver Meeting®
Universal Hepatitis C Screening of Pregnant Women More Cost-Effective Than Risk-Based Approach
November 9, 2018
Data from a new study presented this week at The Liver Meeting® found that universal screening of pregnant women at risk for hepatitis C virus (commonly called HCV) infection is a more efficient and cost-effective diagnostic approach than risk-based screening.
Read the press release.
On This Blog
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 
Over 2 Million Americans Have Hepatitis C; Affects nearly every generation 
Hepatitis C now poses a serious health threat to three generations of Americans, all of whom need to be reached with prevention services, testing, and treatment:
Baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) account for a large portion of all chronic hepatitis C infections in the United States and currently have the highest rate of hepatitis C-related deaths. CDC recommends that all adults born between 1945 and 1965 get a one-time test for hepatitis C, but only a small fraction have done so.
Adults under 40 have the highest rate of new infections, largely because of the opioid crisis.

Infants born to mothers with hepatitis C are a growing concern. The overall risk of an HCV-infected mother transmitting infection to her infant is approximately 4 percent to 7 percent per pregnancy. From 2011 through 2014, national laboratory data indicate that the rate of infants born to women living with hepatitis C increased by 68 percent. 
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Climbing Hepatitis C Rates Underscore Needs for Integrated Care, Increased Resources
Nov 6, 2018
Data showing a tripling of hepatitis C cases across America during the last decade highlight urgent and multi-faceted public health needs for expanded access to prevention, screening and treatment in addition to integrated health services that provide care for substance use disorders and associated infectious diseases.

Showing that more than four million adults have evidence of past or current hepatitis C infection, and that nearly two and a half million people in the U.S. are living with the virus now, the data, released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also indicate that half of those infected do not know it.

And, although direct-acting antiviral medicines can now cure most people living with hepatitis C, the majority of those infected have not accessed the treatment. The data show that the consequences of ongoing, undiagnosed and untreated hepatitis C have multi-generational impacts, with most new infections occurring among young adults in 2016, and increasing numbers of infants born to women with the virus, exposed to as much as a seven percent chance of also becoming infected.

The data demand substantial investments in CDC programs carrying out surveillance and providing screening and diagnosis and linkage to treatment. Improved access to, and Medicaid coverage of direct-acting antivirals, for all patients who need them, is essential. In addition, the data highlight impacts of the opioid crisis that will require a large scale up of integrated prevention, treatment and care efforts. The need for innovative models of care for addiction and related infectious diseases, including hepatitis C, is critical, as is investment in the expert workforce to care for these patients. The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association have advocated for robust public health funding to boost surveillance, prevention measures that include syringe exchange services, provider training and care coordination and will continue to call for strong Congressional support and evidence-based action to reduce HCV transmission and expand access to curative HCV treatment.

The tools to eliminate hepatitis C exist, but this goal can only be reached with the support and resources that will be needed to identify all infected individuals, connect them with treatment and prevent new infections.

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