Every Canadian born between the 1945 and 1975 should get tested for hepatitis C according to new guidelines from the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver.
Hepatitis C is an infection that targets the liver but can also trigger other autoimmune disorders. The infection is spread via blood to blood contact and this can occur when an individual uses intravenous drugs.
Other methods of infection include getting tattoos, piercings, receiving medical procedures with improperly sterilized equipment, sharing personal hygiene items with an infected person (razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers), or having had a blood transfusion or received blood products prior to July 1990.
Currently, it is estimated that over 250,000 Canadians are infected with hepatitis C.
However, nearly 40 to 70% of Canadians with hepatitis C remain undiagnosed.
The findings, which were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), states that the “birth cohort of 1945–1975 has the highest prevalence of chronic HCV infection, yet it is estimated that up to 70% of this group have not been tested for HCV.”
The report notes that one-time testing for all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975 (the baby boomer generation) should be implemented in order for those infected to receive necessary treatment.