Universal screening for chronic hepatitis C virus

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Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects an estimated 123 million persons worldwide and is the leading cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in most countries. Approximately 75% of persons with chronic HCV were born between the years 1945–1965 and screening of patients in this birth cohort is now advocated. Unfortunately, these recommendations are not readily applied and a sizable population of infected persons who could benefit from treatment fall outside the birth cohort. Universal screening for HCV would be optimal. However, the primary limitation once patients are identified is accessing treatment which remains restricted in most countries.

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