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Hepatitis C And Baby Boomers

Screening For Hcv Infection

Hepatitis C and liver cancer: What baby boomers need to know

Sites were provided with commercially approved OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody Test kits . Each subjects blood sample was screened for HCV Ab using Oraquick anti-HCV test. An adverse event was defined as any medical occurrence in response to the administration of the OraQuick Rapid HCV Test.

Individuals who were HCV Ab-negative were no longer followed-up for this study. For HCV Ab-positive individuals, a standard of care confirmatory testing was ordered by the screening site such as HCV RNA test, and results were collected. Individuals were also counseled and educated on HCV, including the use of alcohol, acetaminophen, and receiving hepatitis A and B vaccinations. The HCV Ab-positive individuals who consented to be followed also completed a four week follow-up HRQL survey. Finally, HCV RNA positive individuals were linked to care within the site practice or the geographical area and the date of the scheduled visit was recorded. The site also followed instructions regarding the local state requirements on whether a positive result had to be reported to a state health department.

Are Baby Boomers At A Higher Risk For Infection

A CDC report in 2012 showed that about 1 in 30 Baby Boomers were infected with HCV. This infection rate was 5 times higher than for other generations. And Baby Boomers made up about 75 percent of all chronic HCV infections among U.S. adults.1,4

The CDC then recommended Hepatitis C screening for all Baby Boomers. This helped identify more chronic hepatitis C cases than the previous guidelines based only on risk factors. However, the hepatitis C epidemic has changed since 2012. Because of increased injection drug use, new HCV infections are more common in young adults. According to a CDC study in 2018, Millennials and Baby Boomers each make up 36 percent of new chronic hepatitis C infections. People born between 1966 and 1980 make up about 23 percent of new infections.2,5

Hepatitis C is still a concern for Baby Boomers because of their individual risk factors. But the opioid crisis is also increasing the risk for all generations.

Why Are Baby Boomers At A Higher Risk

While injection drug use is a risk factor, the biggest reason baby boomers are more likely to have hepatitis C is probably due to unsafe medical procedures at the time. In the past, there was no protocol or screening method to check if a blood supply was virus-free. A 2016 study by points to unsafe medical procedures of the time rather than drug use as the primary reason behind hepatitis C transmission in baby boomers. Researchers behind the study found that:

  • the disease spread before 1965
  • the highest infection rates happened during the 1940s and 1960s
  • the population that got infected stabilized around 1960

These findings refute the stigma of drug use around the disease. Most baby boomers were far too young to knowingly engage in risky behavior.

Intravenous drug abuse is still considered a significant risk factor for this disease . But according to Hep C Mag, even people who didnt contract hep C by injecting drugs still face this stigma. A person can also carry the virus for a long time before it causes symptoms. This makes it even more difficult to determine when or how the infection occurred.

The increased risk baby boomers are subject to is also a matter of time and place: They came of age before hepatitis C was identified and routinely tested for.

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Results Of Program Evaluations And Program Adaptation

The start-up program evaluation occurred one month into the screening program. Barriers to successful project implementation fell into four broad categories: information technology, providers, health-care system, and characteristics of the patient population. First, as the project relied heavily on automated EMR-based algorithms to determine screening eligibility and add the HCV test to admission order sets, we assessed information technology barriers. The manual audit of 100 patients excluded by the automated EMR screen showed that these patients had a legitimate exclusion, so no changes were made. Manual order entry was still required for the 25% of patients for whom the order was not automatically added to the admission order set by the coding algorithmâan information technology hurdle that multiple iterations of the screening program could not overcome.

Third, barriers at the health-care system level included limited access to the hepatology clinic, long waits for new appointments, and difficulty navigating the referral process. We addressed these barriers through close collaboration with the gastroenterology faculty to expedite referrals of newly diagnosed patients and additional training of the promotora in case management to assist patients in accessing primary care services. Both the counselor and promotora requested that the HCV app offer a more in-depth explanation of the importance of engagement in primary care, and this adaptation was made.

Facts About Hepatitis C And Baby Boomers

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Im a baby boomer! It doesnt matter how many times I wish I was a millennial , its not happening. I recently learned that Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers have something in common. Whats a baby boomer? Its a term used for people born between the years 1945 and 1965. I barely slipped in, but Im so there. Did you know that while anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75% of adults infected are baby boomers?

The majority of baby boomers dont know much about Hepatitis C how its contracted, symptoms or risk factors.

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. Its the perfect time to get the word out and drive awareness and action among boomers. Getting tested can help people learn if they are infected and get them into lifesaving care and treatment.

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Hepatitis C And Baby Boomers

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C has been called a silent epidemic because most people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected.

While some people who get infected with Hepatitis C are able to clear, or get rid of, the virus, most people who get infected develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer. But many people can benefit from available treatment options that can eliminate the virus from the body and prevent further liver damage.

Why should people born during 1945-1965 get tested for Hepatitis C?

In 2012, CDC started recommending Hepatitis C testing for everyone born from 1945 1965. While anyone can get Hepatitis C, up to 75% of adults infected with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 – 1965

Most people with Hepatitis C dont know they are infected so getting tested is the only way to know.

  • Baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults.
  • The longer people live with Hepatitis C undiagnosed and untreated, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease.
  • Liver disease, liver cancer, and deaths from Hepatitis C are on the rise.
  • Getting tested can help people learn if they are infected and get them into lifesaving care and treatment.

Why do baby boomers have such high rates of Hepatitis C?

The Study Outcomes And Statistical Analysis

The primary endpoint of this study was the percentage of individuals with a positive HCV Ab. The secondary endpoints were the percentages of HCV Ab-positive individuals who underwent confirmatory testing and were linked to care, and HRQL scores at baseline and at follow-up.

The demographic and clinical parameters of individuals who were HCV Ab-positive or HCV Ab-negative were compared using Fisher exact test or Mann-Whitney non-parametric test. Individual HRQL items were treated as ordinal parameters the total HRQL score was considered continuous. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered significant. Independent predictors of a positive HCV Ab result were evaluated by a logistic regression using all collected clinico-demographic parameters as predictors. All analyses were run in SAS 9.3 . The study was approved by Copernicus IRB Board.

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Baby Boomers And Hepatitis C: Whats The Connection

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that is spread through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis C infection can be short-term or long-term . Most people with acute hepatitis C eventually develop chronic hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C usually does not cause symptoms, which is why most people with hepatitis C dont know that they are infected. Left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Why Doctors Don’t Talk About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C: What Baby Boomers Need to Know

In the WebMD survey, 80% of baby boomers with no risk factors said they would be willing to get screened if their doctor recommended it. But many health care professionals don’t mention it. One reason might be that they’re overwhelmed.

“They’re worried about blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and obesity. It’s hard to throw something else on their plate,” Saab says.

The stigma of the disease also may hold some doctors back. “It can be a little awkward to ask about risky behaviors like injected drug use,” Jacobson says. “Even when the questions are asked, a substantial number of patients are reluctant to admit to it for fear of the doctor being judgmental.”

He adds that doctors shouldn’t be “bashful about asking.”

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Opinion: Baby Boomers Should Get Tested For Hep C Virus

As president of the Pacific hepatitis C Network, Id like to expand on our organizations thoughts on the new generation of hepatitis C treatments to build on the April 16 Vancouver Sun story, Pricey Hep C Meds an Issue. We passionately believe the new treatment options are true game changers. We now have the tools to

Baby Boomers Are More Likely To Have Hepatitis C

  • Baby Boomers Are More Likely To Have Hepatitis C

The Centers for Disease Control estimates the 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C, with a large percentage of those being baby boomers. In addition to the number of baby boomers who have the disease, the percentage of that same population being screened for hepatitis C is low.

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Are Baby Boomers At A Higher Risk For Hep C

A CDC report in 2012 showed that about 1 in 30 Baby Boomers were infected with HCV. This infection rate was 5 times higher than for other generations. And Baby Boomers made up about 75 percent of all chronic HCV infections among U.S. adults.1,4

The CDC then recommended Hepatitis C screening for all Baby Boomers. This helped identify more chronic hepatitis C cases than the previous guidelines, which were based only on risk factors. However, the hepatitis C epidemic has changed since 2012. Because of increased injection drug use, new HCV infections are more common in young adults. According to a CDC study in 2018, Millennials and Baby Boomers each make up 36 percent of new chronic hepatitis C infections. People born between 1966 and 1980 make up about 23 percent of new infections.2,5

Hepatitis C is still a concern for Baby Boomers because of their individual risk factors. But the opioid crisis is also increasing the risk for all generations.

What Are The Current Testing Recommendations

How did the Baby Boomers get afflicted with hepatitis C?

The CDC now recommends testing for:5

  • Every adult at least once
  • Pregnant women during every pregnancy
  • Everyone with current risk factors regularly

Risk factors include injection drug use, sharing drug preparation equipment, and certain medical conditions. Talk to your doctor to discuss your risk factors and how often you should get tested.9

Testing is especially important for Baby Boomers. Living longer with chronic hepatitis C increases the chances of serious liver disease. Testing can help you get treated quicker.7

If you and your doctor decide you should be tested, you may first take an FDA-approved test for a hepatitis C antibody. A positive test means you were exposed to the virus. Either you have an active infection or you fought off a previous infection. You would then take an FDA-approved test for HCV RNA. If this test is positive, it means you have an active hepatitis C infection.9

Your doctor can give you more information specific to your situation. They can help you get tested, advise you on precautions to take, and help get treatment if it is needed.

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Why Is The Infection Risk Higher For Baby Boomers

We do not know why Baby Boomers have a higher risk of HCV infection. Some studies suggest that they were more exposed to injection drug use during young adulthood in the 1970s and 1980s.1 Also, many Baby Boomers may have been infected by blood transfusions before we began screening the blood supply in 1992. It is also possible that HCV infections were more common because of poor medical practices at the time.6,7

Other studies also show that lack of health insurance, use of alcohol, and service in Vietnam may have contributed to the higher infection risk. Most Baby Boomers with chronic hepatitis C will not know how they were infected.4,8

Heres What You Need To Know

Reviewed by: Jamie Shanahan, FNPWritten by: Abbi Havens

Love, drugs, flower power and Hepatitis C? The generation of Americans born between 1945 and 1965 are often referred to as baby boomers, a name earned by the temporary spike in the birth-rate that occurred in several countries following WWII, notably in the U.S. According to the CDC, baby boomers are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults and 3 in every 4 persons diagnosed with hepatitis C are of the baby boomer generation.

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About Ut Health Austin

UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled quality of care. Our experienced healthcare professionals deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality and treat each patient as an individual with unique circumstances, priorities, and beliefs. Working directly with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you in the care room and beyond. For more information, call us at or request an appointment here.

Hepatitis C Screening For Baby Boomers

Doc Talk: Hepatitis C testing for baby boomers

If you were born during 1945-1965, talk to your doctor about getting tested for hepatitis C. The word hepatitis means swelling of the liver. Hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common type of viral hepatitis is hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. More than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die each year from hepatitis C-related illness. Deaths related to hepatitis C have been on the rise and are expected to increase. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the leading reason for liver transplants. Other serious health problems related to hepatitis C include:

  • Liver damage
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver failure

The reason that baby boomers have the highest rates of hepatitis C is not completely understood. Most boomers may have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of hepatitis C were the highest. Many baby boomers could have gotten infected from tainted blood and blood products before testing of the blood supply began in 1992. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if only once in the past. Still, many baby boomers do not know how or when they were infected.

Risk factors for hepatitis infection include:

Additional resources:

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Why Screen Baby Boomers For Hepatitis C

Why are we recommending screening of adults in the baby boomer generation? To understand this, its worth reviewing how we got here.

In 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established HCV testing guidelines based on the presence of risk factors. These included receipt of blood transfusions prior to 1992, when blood donations began to be screened for HCV receipt of clotting factors before 1987 hemodialysis and injection drug use. However, not many cases of hepatitis C were diagnosed. This could likely be traced to a combination of doctors not being adequately engaged, and patients in denial of their risky behaviors.

To identify more cases, the CDC jettisoned its old approach and moved to a blanket recommendation to screen all adults born between 1945 and 1965, the baby boomers. The rationale for this was that more than three out of every 100 baby boomers were infected with HCV. This was at least five times higher than in any other group of adults, and accounted for about 75% of HCV cases.

Moreover, the diagnosis of HCV in this group would identify those with long-duration chronic disease, who were at risk for the most advanced forms of liver disease. So in 2012, the CDC and United States Preventive Services Task Force formally recommended that all baby boomers get a one-time blood test to check for HCV.

Data Collection And Analysis

We collected HCV testing data from October 2012 through September 2013. De-identified data were submitted monthly according to project-specific guidelines. We followed patients testing anti-HCV positive through their first HCV appointment. Data collected included age, race/ethnicity, sex, anti-HCV and HCV RNA results, risk factors in those testing anti-HCV positive, and health insurance type. CDC imposed a data lock on June 30, 2014. After this date, new data could not be uploaded to the Internet-based collection portal. We performed inter-group and intragroup comparisons using c and Student’s t-tests. We conducted analyses using SAS® version 9.3.

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