The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced recently
that all "baby boomers," that is, people born between 1945 and 1965,
should be screened for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) with a one-time blood
test. Some "baby boomers" may have been exposed to HCV during the 1960’s
to the 1980’s, a time period during which transmission of HCV was high
and awareness of the virus was low. HCV was discovered in 1989. From
mid-1992 onward, blood and blood products could be directly screened for
One in 30 baby boomers has been infected with HCV, and most do not know
it. Studies find that many baby boomers do not perceive themselves to be
at risk and are not being tested. More than 15,000 Americans, most of
them baby boomers, die each year from HCV. The CDC believes this
screening initiative will address the largely preventable consequences
of HCV, especially in light of newly available therapies that can cure
an increasing proportion of infections. Screening baby boomers has been
shown to lead to fewer cases of advanced liver disease, liver
cancer and death.
The Miriam Hospital's 1125 North Main Street office offers HIV,
Hepatitis C and STD testing (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia). Testing
is provided free for those without insurance. Testing is
available on a walk-in basis every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from
12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Other days and times are by appointment only. For
more information, please call 401-793-4715.
the Rhode Island Department of Health for more HIV testing sites.
Investigators at The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center have been
conducting clinical trials for many years, including HCV treatment
studies. Clinical trials are available for people with HCV only, and for
people living with both HIV and HCV. For further information about
clinical trials, please contact Patricia Delgado at 401-793-4769.