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Rapid Hepatitis C Screening Increases Detection — Physician’s First Watch
Rapid Hepatitis C Screening Increases Detection
By Amy Orciari Herman
A pilot program offering rapid hepatitis C virus testing to drug users in Wisconsin improved detection rates, according to MMWR.
Some 1300 people attending four drug outreach centers in 2012 and 2013 underwent rapid oral HCV testing. One fifth of participants tested positive, and of these, nearly three quarters had not been diagnosed previously.
Blood specimens for confirmatory testing were collected from most of the participants with positive rapid test results. HCV antibody tests confirmed there were no false-positives, and HCV RNA tests showed that 70% had active, viremic infection.
The authors conclude: "The use of rapid HCV tests could be a powerful tool for screening, conveying prevention information, and initiating treatment in this population with a high prevalence of HCV infection."