Hepatitis: Action Steps and Guidelines for Health Centers
The National Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis details specific opportunities for health care providers, patients, and community leaders to help address viral hepatitis.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gives these recommendations regarding screening for hepatitis B and C:
- Screen for hepatitis B virus infection in pregnant women at their first prenatal visit (Grade A)
- Screen for hepatitis B virus infection in persons at high risk for infection (Grade B)
- Screen for hepatitis C virus infection in persons at high risk for infection. Offer 1-time screening for hepatitis C virus infection to adults born between 1945 and 1965 (Grade B).
The only way to diagnose chronic viral hepatitis is blood testing. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing are covered preventive services under the Affordable Care Act. CDC provides these resources on hepatitis screening:
- Who should be tested for hepatitis B virus infection?
- Who should be tested for hepatitis C virus infection?
- Educate Your Patients Born Between 1945-1965: Why Baby Boomers Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C? (PDF - 293 KB)
Viral hepatitis screening includes multiple tests and can be complex. These resources may help to identify which tests are most appropriate for your patient:
- Interpretation of Hepatitis B Serologic Test Results (PDF - 83 KB)
- Recommended Testing Sequence for Identifying Current Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection (PDF - 541 KB)
- Interpretation of Results of Tests for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection and Further Actions (PDF - 564 KB)
Safe and effective vaccines are available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. These vaccines are now routinely provided during the primary infant vaccination series and are recommended for many vulnerable adolescents and adults as well as anyone seeking protection. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines are covered preventive services under the Affordable Care Act.
Effective treatments for hepatitis B and hepatitis C are available. These treatments have been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. They consist of oral medications and in the case of hepatitis C, treatment can result in a virologic cure.
- Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C
- Recommendations for Managing and Treating Chronic Hepatitis B: Update 2009 (PDF - 562 KB
There are many interventions providers can recommend for people with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C to stay healthy and decrease the chance of disease progression. These include reducing alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, using care with over the counter medications, and receiving regular care including monitoring for liver cancer.
Tools to Educate Patients
Guide patients through the 5-minute Hepatitis Risk Assessment
Use CDC Education Campaign Materials:
- Know More Hepatitis (Hepatitis C)
- CDC Hepatitis C Counseling and Testing Manual for use in primary care practices (PDF)
- Know Hepatitis B (available in multiple Asian languages)
Training and Toolkits
National Training Center for Integrated Hepatitis HIV/STD Prevention Services CME (Training for front-line workers in prevention programs)
National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) - Viral Hepatitis Headquarters (Provider and Patient information)
Webinar: Strategies for Implementing U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSFT) Hepatitis B Recommendations for Health Centers by the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations