Population-level Outcomes and Cost-Effectiveness of Expanding the Recommendation for Age-based Hepatitis C Testing in the United States

Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 1;67(4):549-556. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy098.


Background: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend one-time hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing for persons born 1945-1965 and targeted testing for high-risk persons. This strategy targets HCV testing to a prevalent population at high risk for HCV morbidity and mortality, but does not include younger populations with high incidence. To address this gap and improve access to HCV testing, age-based strategies should be considered.

Methods: We used a simulation of HCV to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of HCV testing strategies: 1) standard of care (SOC) - recommendation for one-time testing for all persons born 1945-1965, 2) recommendation for one-time testing for adults ≥40 years (≥40 strategy), 3) ≥30 years (≥30 strategy), and 4) ≥18 years (≥18 strategy). All strategies assumed targeted testing of high-risk persons. Inputs were derived from national databases, observational cohorts and clinical trials. Outcomes included quality-adjusted life expectancy, costs, and cost-effectiveness.

Results: Expanded age-based testing strategies increased US population lifetime case identification and cure rates. Greatest increases were observed in the ≥18 strategy. Compared to the SOC, this strategy resulted in an estimated 256,000 additional infected persons identified and 280,000 additional cures at the lowest cost per QALY gained (ICER = $28,000/QALY).

Conclusions: In addition to risk-based testing, one-time HCV testing of persons 18 and older appears to be cost-effective, leads to improved clinical outcomes and identifies more persons with HCV than the current birth cohort recommendations. These findings could be considered for future recommendation revisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Diagnostic Screening Programs / economics*
  • Diagnostic Screening Programs / standards
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / economics*
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / standards
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult