Health & Wellness

Experts Advise Expanded Hep C Screening

Canadian researchers say being a boomer puts you at risk.


By Wendy Haaf


Were you born between 1945 and 1975? According to updated guidelines published this past summer, that’s reason enough to have a blood test to check for hepatitis C. The new guidelines appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

While the prevalence of chronic hepatitis C infection is highest among Canadians born between 1945 and 1975, up to 70% of them have never been tested, the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver pointed out in issuing the revised guidelines.

A blood-borne virus, hepatitis C can linger in the body for decades before causing symptoms, stealthily wreaking damage that can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Thanks to recent advances, new treatments are more convenient, less prone to side effects, and far more effective (with a cure rate of more than 95%) than earlier options.

The new guidelines differ from those that preceded them in calling for age-related screening in addition to other risk-related screening; other risk factors include having received an organ transplant, a blood transfusion, or a blood product prior to 1992, having been in prison, and a history of IV drug use (even once) or unprotected sex with multiple partners.

For more information on hepatitis C and liver health, visit


Photo: iStock/jarun011.