Twenty-five years ago CDC played a pivotal role in the discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C. After the isolation of HCV, implementation of screening of blood products and organs for donation led to a decrease in rates of HCV infection between 1990 and 2009. In spite of these successes, HCV still remains a serious threat, both domestically and abroad. HCV remains the most common chronic blood borne infection in the United States, affecting approximately 3.9 million individuals. However up to 50% of HCV-infected persons are unaware of their infection. Globally, there are 180 million people who are chronically infected with the virus, and 3-4 million new infections occur every year.
Recent therapeutic advances hold the potential to halt the progression of HCV infection and disease. While HCV-infected persons can be effectively treated, more effort is needed to screen, diagnosis, treat and provide continuity of care. This session of Public Health Grand Rounds will discuss how new screening guidelines, testing methods and therapeutic advances will provide us with an opportunity to improve individual outcomes and to eventually eliminate HCV infection.