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Comparison of Hepatitis C Virus Testing Strategies
  • Published Date:
    Sep 2014
  • Source:
    Am J Prev Med. 47(3):233-241.
Filetype[PDF-239.12 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Prev Med
  • Description:

    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is unidentified in an estimated 40%–85% of infected adults. Surveillance and modeling data have found significant increases in HCV-associated morbidity and mortality.


    To compare two HCV antibody (anti-HCV) testing strategies based on (1) elevated alanine aminotransferase levels (ALT) and (2) a birth cohort approach for people born during 1945–1965.


    Data from 19,055 adults aged 20–70 years who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1999–2008 were analyzed in 2013. Two independent models were evaluated, based on membership in the 1945–1965 birth cohort or elevated ALT, to compare the number of identified anti-HCV-positive (anti-HCV+) individuals; proportion of total identified cases; and the number of people that would be tested using either strategy.


    The prevalence of anti-HCV among adults aged 20–70 years was estimated at 2.0% (95% CI=1.8%, 2.3%), representing about 3.6 million people. The birth cohort strategy would result in testing about 85.4 million people and identifying nearly 2.8 million anti-HCV+ people with a sensitivity of 76.6%. The ALT strategy would test about 21.5 million adults and identify approximately 1.8 million anti-HCV+ people with a sensitivity of 50.0%. Implementing both strategies concurrently would identify 87.3% of anti-HCV+ adults.


    The birth cohort strategy, which is recommended by both the CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, would identify 1 million more anti-HCV+ people than the elevated ALT approach. Concurrent implementation would identify an even larger number of individuals ever infected.

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