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Baby Boomers Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C
Date:6/24/2013

atient to be tested and treated for HCV at the earliest possible date allows him or her to avoid the disease's progression to liver cancer.

Liver transplantation is an expensive procedure and testing for HCV with subsequent treatment is expected to decrease the number of patients who would otherwise require transplantation and provides a significant financial savings to the nation's healthcare system. It is worthy of note that these recommendations come at a time when the treatments for hepatitis C are becoming both more effective and easier to tolerate.  The other savings is even greater -- decreasing the number of patients requiring and waiting for a liver transplantation equals saving lives. The number of livers available does not match the number of patients who currently require a transplantation, which means that patients die while on the waiting list. In 2012, there were 6,256 liver transplantations performed. As of June 7, 2013, there are 16,484 patients waiting for a suitable organ.

The CDC recommended one-time age-based screening allowing for early detection of HCV reduces the chance of progression to liver cancer, and decreases the number of patients requiring a liver transplantation. The new "B" rating by the USPSTF means that a large number of patients can be tested and successfully treated with new direct-acting antiviral drugs that have allowed the medical community to cure HCV. Ten years ago, we were not able to cure patients of HCV, but research in liver disease has led to these new drugs. Treatment is still difficult and expensive, but it is constantly improving, and we anticipate the FDA to approve numerous new drugs over the next three to five years. New drugs currently in the pipeline will allow us to increase the cure rate and decrease treatment side effects. 

AASLD is a subspecialty society representing clinicians and researchers in liver disease. The work of our members has laid the foundation for the develop
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SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
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