Knowing your hepatitis C virus (HCV) status has no apparent effect on the likelihood of your developing advanced liver fibrosis. The finding supports routine screening for the virus, since asymptomatic, untested people may perceive no reason to be screened and the virus is affecting their livers in the same way as those who are aware of their infection.

Testing for hep C was instituted in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2001 and 2012. Researchers examined a subgroup of 130 survey respondents with hep C who had completed HCV-related follow-up questionnaires. They presented their findings at the 50th International Liver Congress in Vienna, Austria.

Forty-eight percent of the group knew they were HCV positive before the survey. Among this group, the respective proportion that had a high, intermediate, and low probability of advanced fibrosis was 14.5 percent, 40.3 percent, and 45.2 percent. Among the 52 percent who did not know they had hep C, the corresponding figures were 19.1 percent, 30.9 percent, and 50 percent—similar proportions to the status-aware group.

To read a press release on the study and the study abstract, click here.