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Experts recommend large-scale hepatitis C testing initiatives

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Broader efforts to make lab testing for hepatitis C available to more individuals could be a cost-effective method of controlling the spread of the infection, according to a new report published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The University of Washington researchers who wrote the paper said that current testing programs evaluate an individual's risk factors for hepatitis infection. However, this kind of approach has failed to identify at least half of those infected with the disease.

The healthcare costs assocaited with treating new infections and the complications associated with the virus are high. The researchers suggested providing all adults between the ages of 20 and 69 with at least one lab test for hepatitis C could be a more cost-effective approach to dealing with the problem.

"Hepatitis C is a lot like HIV. The U.S. took a long time to come to the conclusion that we needed to really emphasize testing and efforts to link people to care. Hepatitis C is the same," said Phillip Coffin, the lead author of the paper. "We need a large scale, coordinated effort to identify people with this infection and make sure they get the care they need."ADNFCR-2248-ID-800730015-ADNFCR

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