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CDC Recommends Single-Visit Hepatitis C Testing

Diagnosing hepatitis C infection involves 2 steps: testing a blood sample for hepatitis C virus antibodies, and if the sample is reactive, performing an RNA test. Although the steps can be accomplished in a single visit, 2013 guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held that collecting the samples over 2 separate visits to a health care facility was also an acceptable strategy.

Now, the CDC recommends that health care facilities and laboratories use only single-visit approaches to hepatitis C testing, such as using blood from a single draw to test for antibodies and then automatically submitting the sample to RNA testing if it is reactive.

Because experts estimate that about one-third of patients with a reactive antibody test do not complete the RNA test, the agency expects that streamlining the diagnostic process will increase the number of patients with hepatitis C infection “who are linked to care and receive curative antiviral therapy,” according to guidance published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Emily Harris

Published Online: JAMA.July 26, 2023. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.13136



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