Date of Award

Fall 1-5-2018

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Kenya Kirkendoll, RN,MSN,MPH

Abstract

Hepatitis C is a common blood borne infection in the United States; currently this infection is a primary public health concern. The World Health Organization estimates about 150 million carriers of chronic HCV; more than 350,000 deaths each year are attributed to Hepatitis C virus(HCV) related hepatic diseases such as chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The population subgroup commonly known as baby boomers have five times the risk of HCV than other groups (CDC 2015). It is therefore imperative to encourage testing among all vulnerable populations including the baby boomers. Evidence suggests underuse of HCV testing services, despite the recommendations of testing by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Identifying the major predictors of HCV testing can be used to explain testing behaviors and possibly develop future HCV testing initiatives. The linkage to care for Hepatitis C infection which is an important component of the Hepatitis C cascade of care will also be evaluated and possible recommendations for future research will be explored. This research describes results of systematic analysis of Hepatitis C virus screening trends and linkage to care Program in the United States. The main finding is that despite the evidence based recommendations, the reported screening rates for Hepatitis C virus are still sub-optimal, also most testing centers still do not have an effective linkage to care system. Implementation of national guidelines for HCV screening, establishing high yield screening centers and using linkage care providers will help reduce the HCV-related disease burden and ultimately improve health outcomes

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