Low Rates of HCV Testing Seen in Baby Boomers

HealthDay News — Despite recommendations, too few American baby boomers are tested for hepatitis C virus, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In 2013, the US Preventive Services Task Force advised all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 to get a one-time test for hepatitis C virus. For the study, investigators analyzed data from 23,967 baby boomers who took part in a government health survey.

The researchers found that hepatitis C testing rates increased from 12.3% in 2013 to 13.8% in 2015. There were 76.2 million baby boomers in the United States in 2015, and only 10.5 million said they had been tested for hepatitis C. 

Insurance played a role in testing. Patients with Medicare plus Medicaid, Medicaid only, or military insurance had higher rates of hepatitis C virus testing than those with private insurance. Rates were also higher in men than women, and among college graduates.

“These findings underscore the need for increased awareness for hepatitis C virus testing among health care providers and baby boomers, and other innovative strategies such as state-mandated hepatitis C virus testing,” the researchers write.

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Jemal A, Fedewa SA. Recent hepatitis c virus testing patterns among baby boomers [published online March 8, 2017]. Am J Prev Med. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.033.