For reasons not yet understood, 75% of adults who currently have Hepatitis C were born in the years 1945 through 1965. Therefore, the CDC has recommended that all adults who were born during these years are tested for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is dangerous because a carrier can show no symptoms for many years, and never know he is carrying the disease. The disease can become active and cause cirrhossis, liver damage and possibly liver cancer. Up until now, there haven’t been many options in the treatment of Hepatitis C. Doctors have treated patients with interferon and ribavarin, but treatment was effective in only 50% of treated patients. Other patients couldn’t receive treatment due to the side effects of these two drugs.
After sequencing the genetic makeup of Hep C, there are now more available treatments. The drugs used are direct acting anti-viral drugs, drugs that target the Hep C virus directly, rather than harming systems that are important to the everyday health of the patient. Two new drugs, telaprevir (Incivek) and boceprevir (Victrelis), are still used with interferon and ribavarin, but it is believed that they will be able to be used with other direct acting drugs, eliminating the need for the older drugs that did more harm to the body.
For these reasons, the CDC has created the new recommendation. Testing those born in the years noted will help prevent more than 120,000 deaths from the disease. It is not known if all health care plans will cover the testing, so you should check with your insurance company.