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Health Panels Recommends Baby Boomers to get Tested for Hep C

Update Date: Jun 25, 2013 01:35 PM EDT

Hepatitis C is a form of liver disease that is caused by HCV, the hepatitis C virus. Around 15,000 Americans die from complications of a hepatitis C infection. When people get infected, which usually occurs via contact with infected blood, symptoms might show for years, which is why getting a blood test could mean life or death. The United States Preventive Services Task Force announced this past Monday that all baby boomers, who are people born after World War II between 1946 and 1964,should go get tested for hepatitis C.

This new recommendation goes against the task force's previous decision that screening all baby boomers for hepatitis C would only result in a small benefit. Now, the task force believes that there would be a "moderate net benefit" if all baby boomers got tested. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency recommended that all people born in the post-World War II era and up to 1965 should be given a one time test for hepatitis C.

This new recommendation would not only benefit baby boomers who could be diagnosed and treated if they test positive for the infection, it would also increase business for pharmaceutical companies that sell and manufacture drugs for treating hepatitis C. Now, more people could qualify for drugs that treat the viral infection.

According to the task force, screening for hepatitis C will now have a recommendation grade of a B. Grades A and B under the Affordable Care Act give coverage without co-payments for patients who qualify for preventative screening measures. The recommendation, however, can be ignored since the task force is quasi-governmental.

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