1Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine, 49 Jesse Hill Dr, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA. email@example.com.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently augmented risk-based hepatitis C (HCV) screening guidelines with a recommendation to perform one-time screening in all persons born during 1945 - 1965, a birth cohort known to have a higher prevalence of HCV. We sought to estimate the proportion of veterans seen at the Atlanta VA Medical Center (AVAMC) who had ever been screened for HCV infection by birth year.
We used an administrative database of all veterans seen at the AVAMC between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, and a laboratory generated list of all HCV antibody tests and HCV RNA viral loads that were performed at the AVAMC to determine receipt of screening and HCV antibody positivity. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using SAS version 9.2 (SAS institute, Cary, North Carolina).
HCV antibody testing had ever been performed on 48% (41,556) of the veterans seen in 2011; 10% of those tested had a positive antibody. Confirmatory viral loads were performed in 96% of those with a positive antibody screen. Those born during 1945 - 1965 were more likely to have a HCV antibody performed when compared with those born in other years (54% vs. 41%, odds ratio [OR] 1.70, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.65-1.74). Among veterans ever tested for HCV antibody (n = 41,556), those born during 1945 - 1965 were 6 times more likely to have a positive HCV antibody (15% vs. 3%, OR 5.87, 95% CI 5.32-6.78), and 3 times more likely to have chronic HCV infection (76% vs. 50%, OR 3.25, 95% CI 2.65-4.00).
Nearly half of the veterans seen in 2011 at the AVAMC had ever been tested for HCV infection. When examined by birth cohort, over half of the veterans born during 1945 - 1965 had been screened for HCV and 15% of those screened had a positive HCV antibody. Our findings confirm the increased prevalence of HCV infection in persons born during 1945 - 1965 as identified in the updated CDC and USPSTF recommendations.