Description: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a group of governmental and private sector partners developed these evidence-based recommendations to increase the proportion of hepatitis C virus (HCV)–infected persons who know their status and are linked to appropriate care and treatment. The recommendations also address brief alcohol screening, as alcohol accelerates progression of liver disease among HCV-infected individuals. These recommendations augment CDC's 1998 and 1999 recommendations based on risk and medical indications and are not meant to replace those recommendations.
Methods: These recommendations are based on systematic reviews of evidence published from 1995 through February 2012 in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Sociological Abstracts, and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects. Selected studies included cross-sectional and cohort studies that addressed either prevalence of hepatitis C in the United States or clinical outcomes (for example, hepatocellular carcinoma and serious adverse events) among treated patients and systematic reviews of trials that assessed effectiveness of brief screening interventions for alcohol consumption. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation framework was used to assess quality of the evidence.
Recommendation 1: Adults born during 1945–1965 should receive 1-time testing for HCV without prior ascertainment of HCV risk. (Grade: strong recommendation; moderate-quality evidence).
Recommendation 2: All persons with identified HCV infection should receive a brief alcohol screening and intervention as clinically indicated, followed by referral to appropriate care and treatment services for HCV infection and related conditions (Grade: strong recommendation; moderate-quality evidence).