Ephraim Back, MD, MPH
Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Back E.; Hepatitis C Virus Testing of Persons Born During 1945–1965. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:704-705. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-9-201305070-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(9):704-705.
TO THE EDITOR:
The HCV screening guideline released by the CDC promotes universal screening of all persons born during 1945–1965 (1, 2). Although this strategy will identify many previously undiagnosed persons who are chronically infected with HCV, it will also lead to many persons being falsely diagnosed with past HCV infection.
Per a 2003 CDC guideline on HCV testing, the proportion of false-positive HCV antibody test results among immunocompetent populations with anti-HCV prevalence less than 10% averages approximately 35% (range, 15% to 60%). This testing guideline warns that “not relying exclusively on anti-HCV screening-test–positive results to determine whether a person has been infected with HCV is critical” and recommends that all positive screening results be verified with a “supplemental test with high specificity” (3).
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