for Health Care Providers
Screening Veterans for Hepatitis C Infection - Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an important public health issue in the veteran community. Since 1998, the Veterans Health Administration has initiated and implemented a comprehensive National Hepatitis C Program to screen veterans for HCV.
The following is a list of criteria that the VA uses to screen veterans for HCV infection:
- Patient was born between 1945 and 1965, or
- Patient desires to be tested, or
- One or more of the following risks are identified:
- Prior or current intravenous drug use
- Blood transfusion or organ transplantation before 1992
- Vietnam-era Veteran, defined by dates of service from 1964 through 1975
- Health care or public safety workers after a needlestick injury or mucosal exposure to HCV-positive blood
- Tattoos or body-piercings obtained in non-regulated settings
- Intranasal drug users who have shared equipment to snort drugs
- 50 or more lifetime sexual partners
- Current or past sexual exposure to an HCV-infected partner
- Persons with HIV infection
- Treated for a blood clotting problem prior to 1987
- Abnormal liver function test results
- Born to a mother with HCV
Clinicians are urged to utilize the Hepatitis C Virus Antibody Screening Flow Chart if there is a presence or history of any of the above criteria.
Birth Cohort Testing
According to CDC, in the United States a disproportionately high number of people born between 1945 and 1965 have hepatitis C. Many of these individuals are unaware they are infected, and thus do not receive care or treatment. For this reason, all Veterans born between 1945 and 1965 should be offered testing for hepatitis C.
References and Resources
- Summaries of HCV Screening Recommendations
- Hepatitis C Virus Testing of Persons Born During 1945-1965: Recommendations From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012 Dec;157(11):817-822.
- Hepatitis C Fact Sheets for Patients