12 Mar USPSTF Recommendation for Hepatitis C Screening of All Adults
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Michael Barry MD
Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program
Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital
Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor of Medicine,Harvard Medical School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Hepatitis C affects more people today than ever before, many of whom are younger. If left untreated, it can cause serious, lifelong health problems due to liver damage. The good news is that hepatitis C infection is both preventable and treatable, with recent evidence showing that new treatments for adults are highly effective. Knowing this, we’ve broadened our guidelines to recommend screening for hepatitis C in all adults between the ages of 18 and 79.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The most important takeaway from this recommendation is that all adults between the ages of 18 and 79 should be screened at least once for hepatitis C. For patients at increased risk – particularly those who inject drugs – we recommend periodic screening. Screening for hepatitis C helps keep people healthy because it can detect the infection early on, when it is easier to treat and before complications begin.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: In developing this recommendation, we identified several areas where additional research would be helpful. For example, more studies are needed on potential screening intervals and strategies, the effectiveness of treatments in adolescents, and how best to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: While this recommendation applies to adults ages 18 to 79, we suggest that clinicians also consider screening their adolescent and older adult patients who are at high risk, including those who have injected drugs.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adolescents and Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2020;323(10):970–975. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1123
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