The current recommendation is to test only people with known risk factors, which include HIV, drug use and people with signs of liver disease. By targeting baby boomers, it's thought that an additional 800,000 people living with hepatitis C could be identified and more than 120,000 hepatitis C-related deaths prevented, the CDC said.
The proposal will be available for public comment and then finalized later in the year.
Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, said he supports the proposal.
"Hepatitis C is a real killer. It leads to a lot of cirrhosis and liver failure and need for liver transplants. It's a subclinical infection and it's often missed until it's too late," he said.
For more information on hepatitis C, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: John Ward, M.D., director, Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor, medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City
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