Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a complex public health problem, characterized by a high prevalence of chronic infection, an increasing burden of HCV-associated disease, low rates of testing and treatment, and the prospect of increasing incidence associated with the epidemic of injection drug use. Three-quarters of chronic HCV infections occur among persons born from 1945 through 1965. Prevention efforts are complicated by limited knowledge among health care professionals, persons at risk and in the public at large. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, efforts to improve primary and secondary prevention effectiveness center on policy development, education and training initiatives, and applied research. This report provides a brief overview of some of these efforts, including the development of testing recommendations for the 1945-1965 birth cohort, research and evaluation studies in settings where persons who inject drugs receive services, and a national viral hepatitis education campaign that targets health care professionals, the public, and persons at risk.