Baby boomers do not appear to be getting the message about hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all those born between 1945 and 1965 receive screening for the virus, a recent study found that only about 13 percent of the birth cohort has done so.
More than three quarters of those living with HCV in the United States are baby boomers, most of whom were infected decades ago, probably because of unsafe medical practices.
Publishing their findings in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers analyzed 2013 to 2015 data from the National Health Interview Survey on hep C testing patterns among members of four birth cohorts: those born before 1945, between 1945 and 1965, between 1966 and 1985, and after 1985. After excluding certain groups of individuals who were more likely to receive HCV screening, the study authors wound up with a study cohort of 85,210 people.
After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that in all birth cohorts, females were less likely to get tested for hep C than males. Among baby boomers and those born between 1966 and 1985, HCV testing rates were lower among Latinos and Blacks compared with whites.
The proportion of baby boomer respondents to the survey who said they had been tested for HCV ranged from 11.9 percent in 2013 to 12.8 percent in 2015. Less than one in five of the baby boomers who got tested for the virus reported that they were prompted to do so because they were born between 1945 and 1965.
To read a press release about the study, click here.
To read the study abstract, click here.