Hepatitis C Testing Increased Among Baby Boomers Following The 2012 Change To CDC Testing Recommendations

Health Aff (Millwood). 2017 Dec;36(12):2142-2150. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0684.


In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended routine testing for hepatitis C for people born in the period 1945-65. Until now, the recommendation's impact on hepatitis C screening rates in the United States has not been fully understood. We used an interrupted time series with comparison group design to analyze hepatitis C screening rates in the period 2010-14 among 2.8 million commercially insured adults in the MarketScan database. Hepatitis C screening rates increased yearly between 2010 and 2014, from 1.65 to 2.59 per 100 person-years. A 49 percent increase in screening rates among people born during 1945-65 followed the release of the recommendation, but no such increase was observed among adults born after 1965. The effect among the target population was sustained, and by twenty-four months after the recommendation's release, screening rates had increased 106 percent. We conclude that the hepatitis C testing policy change resulted in significantly increased testing among the target population and may have decreased the magnitude of the hepatitis C epidemic.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Medicine/Clinical Issues; Public Health.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.*
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Hepacivirus / immunology*
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology