The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that all adults be tested for hepatitis B and C, regardless of their risk factors. This CDC Recommends comes as part of an effort to identify and treat the millions of Americans who are infected with these viruses but are unaware of their status.
Understanding Hepatitis B and C
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Hepatitis B and C are viral infections that affect the liver. These viruses spread through contact with infected blood, including sharing needles or having unprotected sex with an infected person. Hepatitis B can also spread from mother to child during childbirth.
Both viruses can cause chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. In fact, hepatitis B and C are the leading causes of liver cancer in the United States.
The New CDC Recommendations
The CDC calls for testing all adults for hepatitis B and C at least once in their lifetime. The agency also recommends that healthcare providers offer to test to anyone who may be at increased risk for infection, such as those who inject drugs, have multiple sexual partners, or were born in countries with high rates of hepatitis B.
The CDC’s goal is to identify the estimated 2.4 million Americans who are living with chronic hepatitis B or C but are unaware of their status. By identifying and treating these individuals, the agency hopes to reduce the rates of liver disease and liver cancer in the United States.
The Importance of Testing
Testing for hepatitis B and C is important because many people with these infections have no symptoms until the disease has progressed to advanced stages. Early detection and treatment can prevent or slow the progression of liver disease and improve outcomes for those infected.
In addition, testing and treatment can help prevent the spread of the virus to others. By identifying and treating infected individuals, healthcare providers can reduce the risk of transmission through blood donation, organ transplantation, and sexual contact.
CDC Recommends and Implications
The CDC’s new recommendations represent a significant step forward in the fight against hepatitis B and C. By encouraging testing for all adults and those at increased risk, the agency hopes to identify and treat millions of Americans who are living with these infections.
The recommendations also highlight the importance of routine testing and early detection in preventing and treating liver disease. Implementing these recommendations and ensuring regular screening for hepatitis B and C is a critical role of healthcare providers in caring for their patients. By working together, healthcare providers and patients can help reduce the burden of liver disease and improve outcomes for those infected with hepatitis B and C.
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