I am dismayed by the recent draft recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on hepatitis C testing. Compared to previous guidelines, the recommendations are a step up for those at high risk for hepatitis C (a grade “B”, meaning testing is recommended). However, the Task Force fell short of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) potentially lifesaving recommendation for testing all those born between 1945 to 1965 (Baby Boomers) for hepatitis C. The USPSTF recommended a “C” grade, which means that clinicians may consider offering hepatitis C testing for Baby Boomers.
In short, the USPSTF did not endorse the CDC’s recommendations; it also conflicts with the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, and the federal government’s commitment to combat the hepatitis C epidemic.
Here is how you can help:
The recommendations are open for public comment until December 24, 2012. Read the draft and assuming you agree with what I urge, ask the USPSTF to upgrade the Baby Boomer recommendation to “B”. To make a comment, click on the section near the top right side that says, “I would like to comment on the draft recommendation statement.” I kept it simple and only completed sections that felt pertinent. It took me few minutes, but if we get results, it has the potential to save countless lives.
This holiday season, give a gift that has real meaning – urge the USPSTF to assign a “B” recommendation to test all those born between 1945 to 1965 for hepatitis C.