Less than half of baby boomers in a recent survey were aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a one-time hepatitis C virus (HCV) test for all those born between 1945 and 1965.

Eighty percent of the U.S. hep C population was born during that period, which defines the baby boom birth cohort.

Publishing their findings in The Southern Medical Journal, researchers recruited 563 baby boomers to respond to a survey either at a single academic center’s internal medicine clinics or at a local health fair.

Sixty-two percent of the respondents were female. Fifty-six percent were white, 34 percent were Latino and 7 percent were Black. Eighteen percent had not finished high school, 25 percent had a high school diploma, 38 percent had completed some college and 20 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree. Eighteen percent had visited their primary care physician once during the past 12 months, 23 percent had done so twice, 26 percent had done so three times and 33 percent had done so at least four times. Four percent had no health insurance, 46 percent had Medicare or Medicaid, 36 percent had employer-based health insurance, 8 percent had self-paid insurance and 7 percent had “other” insurance.

Forty percent of the respondents were aware of the CDC’s recommendation that baby boomers should all receive HCV testing. Thirty-four percent of those who were aware of the guideline had been tested, compared with 24 percent of those who were not aware. Of the respondents who were aware of the guidelines, 65 percent reported television as their source of their information, and 22 percent reported health care providers as their source.

The only demographic factor that significantly predicted whether participants were aware of the testing recommendation was being Latino. After the study authors adjusted the data to account for various differences between the respondents, they found that Latinos were 41 percent less likely to be aware of the guideline compared with whites.

“Although mass media may be a key venue for HCV-related data outreach,” the study authors concluded, “further studies are needed on interventions to enhance the role played by health care providers.”

To read the study abstract, click here.