HCV Testing and Treatment
Researchers mailed a survey to 1,200 randomly selected active members of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Here are some of the results:
"Identification of Persons at Risk. Respondents were asked what strategies they use to identify persons at risk for hepatitis C to offer blood testing for the virus, and their responses are listed in Table 2. Relatively few respondents reported using standardized history sheets to assess for hepatitis C risk factors (17%), though a larger percent reported screening (method not specified) all new patients (32%) or asking patients about risk factors (63%). Most (85%) offer hepatitis C testing to patients with elevated liver function tests and to patients they consider to be at high risk for hepatitis C (70%)."
"Hepatitis C Screening Blood Tests. The most common blood test used to screen patients for hepatitis C was hepatitis C antibody testing (91%), followed by liver function testing (59%). Only a few respondents indicated using only liver function tests for hepatitis C screening (2%)."
"Counseling. After a diagnosis of hepatitis C is made, most respondents said they counsel their patients with hepatitis C not to use alcohol (94%), not to use acetaminophen (88%), to get tested for and vaccinated against hepatitis B (86%) and hepatitis A (68%), and to get tested for HIV (81%)."
"Risk Factors. Nearly all respondents indicated they offer blood testing for hepatitis C in patients with known risk factors (98%) that, as listed in Table 2, were identified as including elevated liver enzymes, history of intravenous drug use, hepatitis B infection sex partner with hepatitis C, HIV infection, and blood transfusion before 1992. A high percent also reported offering blood testing to patients with tattoos (75%), all pregnant women (40%), and patients with blood transfusions after 1992 (47%), even though the CDC does not recommend blood testing for any of these factors.1"
"Antiviral Efficacy and Side Effects. Almost half (46%) of all respondents thought that the current multi-drug regimens “cure” hepatitis C less than 50% of the time, while 21% thought the cure rate was 50% to 69%. Most respondents thought the side effects of drug therapy were bothersome (33%) or very bothersome (34%)."
Clark, Elizabeth C.; Yawn, Barbara P.; Galliher, James M.; Temte, Jonathan L.; and Hickner, John, "Hepatitis C Identification and Management by Family Physicians," Family Medicine (Leawood, KS: Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, October, 2005) Volume 37, Issue 9, p. 645-647.