Maine CDC Health Advisory

July 2, 2024

Addressing Substantial Gaps in Hepatitis C Diagnosis and Treatment

Hepatitis C infections have risen nationally in recent years, with Maine reporting the highest rate of acute infections in the country in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The rise in hepatitis C infections across the country has been linked to injection drug use and significant gaps in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Universal and risk-based screening is the entry point into the HCV continuum of care and is a crucial and necessary component of any HCV elimination strategy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) recommends universal screening for individuals aged 18 years old and older and periodic risk-based screening for any persons with certain risk factors, screening during each pregnancy and for exposed infants, and confirmatory testing with a hepatitis C virus (HCV) nucleic acid test (NAT). All diagnosed individuals should receive follow-up care and treatment with direct-acting antivirals that can cure over 95% of patients in 8-12 weeks. Treatment is recommended for all infected persons, including persons living with HIV and persons with active substance use.

This health advisory provides a comprehensive overview of recommendations and strategies for increased screening, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services for persons with or at risk for acquiring hepatitis C.

Advisory (PDF)