The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.2 million people in the U.S. are chronically infected with hepatitis C, with nearly 17,000 new infections each year. Hepatitis C infection is often asymptomatic, leading to the majority being unaware of their infection. 75 percent of chronic hepatitis C infections are among those born between 1945 and 1965. In response, both the CDC and the U.S. Preventative Task Force (USPTF) now recommend one-time testing for anyone born between 1945 and 1965, regardless of risk.
Family physicians play a crucial role in identifying patients infected with hepatitis C and linking or providing patients with care and treatment. In order to respond at the local level, the Georgia Department of Public Health has developed a Hepatitis C Toolkit for Primary Care Providers (see link below) to increase our efforts to promote hepatitis C testing in high risk individuals as well as one-time hepatitis C testing for those born between 1945 and 1965. Early hepatitis C testing can allow patients to be linked to care and treatment before developing serious complications from liver damage as well as reducing transmission of hepatitis C to others. The toolkit can also be found at: https://dph.georgia.gov/sites/dph.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/ADES_Hepatitis_C_Testing_Toolkit_for_Primary_Care_Providers_in_Georgia.pdf.