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Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adolescents and AdultsUS Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

Educational Objective
To review the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations regarding screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
1 Credit CME
Abstract

Importance  Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common chronic blood-borne pathogen in the US and a leading cause of complications from chronic liver disease. HCV is associated with more deaths than the top 60 other reportable infectious diseases combined, including HIV. Cases of acute HCV infection have increased approximately 3.8-fold over the last decade because of increasing injection drug use and improved surveillance.

Objective  To update its 2013 recommendation, the USPSTF commissioned a review of the evidence on screening for HCV infection in adolescents and adults.

Population  This recommendation applies to all asymptomatic adults aged 18 to 79 years without known liver disease.

Evidence Assessment  The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for HCV infection in adults aged 18 to 79 years has substantial net benefit.

Recommendation  The USPSTF recommends screening for HCV infection in adults aged 18 to 79 years. (B recommendation)

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, Stanford University, 615 Crothers Way, Encina Commons, Mail Code 6019, Stanford, CA 94305-6006 (chair@uspstf.net).

Accepted for Publication: January 31, 2020.

Published Online: March 2, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1123

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Members: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; Michael J. Barry, MD; Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W. Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH; Lori Pbert, PhD; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.

Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Members: Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (Owens); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Owens); Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health, Manhasset, New York (Davidson); Fairfax Family Practice Residency, Fairfax, Virginia (Krist); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Krist); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); University of California, San Francisco (Cabana); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Donahue); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling Jr); Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kubik); New York University, New York, New York (Ogedegbe); University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Pbert); Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Silverstein); Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Simon); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (Wong).

Author Contributions: Dr Owens had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings. Dr Barry reported receiving grants and personal fees from Healthwise.

Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.

Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the US government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Additional Contributions: We thank Iris Mabry-Hernandez, MD, MPH (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Lisa Nicolella, MA (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.

Additional Information: The USPSTF makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific preventive care services for patients without obvious related signs or symptoms. It bases its recommendations on the evidence of both the benefits and harms of the service and an assessment of the balance. The USPSTF does not consider the costs of providing a service in this assessment. The USPSTF recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision-making to the specific patient or situation. Similarly, the USPSTF notes that policy and coverage decisions involve considerations in addition to the evidence of clinical benefits and harms.

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