HCV Can Be Cured illustration of a magnifying glass examining the Hep C virusScreening and diagnosing Hep C are the first steps to cure. Your role in supporting patients during their Hep C journey has never been more important. At-risk individuals should be screened regardless of liver enzyme levels.1-4

Cure, or sustained virologic response (SVR12), is defined as undetectable levels of HCV in the blood at 12 weeks after completion of therapy.3,5

Who to screen for Hep C.

The CDC, USPSTF, and AASLD/IDSA recommend a one-time screening for all high-risk populations.1-3

High-risk populations for Hep C include1-3:


Persons born between 1945 and 1965, known as baby boomers


Persons who have ever injected recreational drugs


Persons with HIV infection


Persons who have received tattoos from unlicensed or unregulated environments


Patients with certain medical conditions

  • Persons who received clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
  • Persons who were ever on long-term hemodialysis
  • Persons with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels

Persons who have received blood transfusions or organ transplants before 1992


Workers in healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety institutions after needlesticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to Hep C–positive blood


Children born to a Hep C–positive mother

Screening is also recommended for these populations3,6:

Women who are pregnant3


Adolescent and adult sexually active HIV-positive men who have sex with men3


Sexually active persons about to start pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV3


Persons ever incarcerated3


Persons who have used intranasal drugs3,6

Screen at-risk individuals regardless of liver enzyme levels.1,4

Viral load is not a reliable indicator of the stage of liver disease. Liver enzyme tests (such as ALT) reflect the level of inflammation, not the stage of disease.1

Approximately 30% of patients with chronic Hep C infection have persistently normal ALT levels.4

ALT = alanine aminotransferase

What about coverage?

The USPSTF has given a grade B recommendation that specifically applies to Hep C screening of high-risk individuals and a one-time screening of baby boomers.2

  • Clinical preventive services with an A or B recommendation are usually covered by most private health insurance plans7
  • Medicare typically covers patients without cost-sharing for screening in the primary care setting7
  • All state Medicaid programs must cover medically necessary laboratory services-including medically necessary HCV screening-for adults8

CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

USPSTF = United States Preventive Services Task Force

AASLD/IDSA = American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases/Infectious Diseases Society of America

ASAM = American Society of Addiction Medicine