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Avatar universal

Should the media recommend Hep C testing for all who received blood prior to 1992?

If the baby boomers caught Hep C in the '60s but didn't know it and gave blood like normal public spirited citizens and Hep C testing of donors did not commence till 1992, shouldn't everyone who received a transfusion prior to that date get a test? The blood supply prior to that date must have been very infected! The quickest and cheapest test seems to be to attempt to give blood.
23 Responses
1995824 tn?1330382649
Yes, possibly. Have you read the Baby Boomers thread? You can help out by watching the NBC news piece that aired this week and write a letter with us. That would be a great forum for you to put forth this idea.
1815939 tn?1377995399
It is my opinion that every single person who received any blood products before 1992-92 should be tested (Gamma Globulin, platelets, plasma, factor x, transfusions, etc.).

Here is something that might shock some people. I moved to SF in 1968. When I lived in SF I used to drive through a part of the city known as the Tenderloin and past the plasma center (which was located in the Tenderloin) on my way to work. For those who do not know SF, the Tenderloin has very cheap rooms and many people living there are drug users. Anyway, there was always a very long line of people lined up to give plasma (because the plasma center paid each person $20 each time they donated, which was often). Obviously SF is a very large city, 750,000 at the time. SF was practically the capital of drug experimentation and use in the 60s and 70s. It does not take a genius to figure out that if you pay people $20 every time they donate, your donors will be people who need the money. If you locate a plasma center in the Tenderloin, the clientel you will get will be the people who live in the area, many drug users. No one else wants to go there and get out of there cars.

I am not being judgemental about the people donating plasma. My point is that when the plasma center is obtaining plasma from a group of drug users, at least some of that plasma is going to carry Hep C (as well as AIDs and other diseases). In addition, it is my understanding that once collected, several/many batches of plasma are mixed together before being placed into individual containers for use. Therefore, even one contaminated collection can infect many, many products and many, many people. And none of those products were tested for Hep C until the early 90s.

So yes, I feel everyone who received any blood product before 1992-93 should definitely be test.
Avatar universal
I think everyone should just get tested anyway.  there are many who have no idea how they got it...lots of people are not in a high risk category, sometimes it's just the luck of the draw...
1815939 tn?1377995399
"I think everyone should just get tested anyway. "


I agree.
179856 tn?1333550962
I think people should get tested too but you know they dont think they have it because they feel fine and aren't IVDUs.  Even if they had a transfusion etc they still do not believe they are at risk.

I call it Ostrich Syndrome.
163305 tn?1333672171
It might be a good idea if  hep C tests were included in yearly physicals for everyone over a certain age. Or to at least have them every five years or???
1491755 tn?1333204962
You mean the most irresponsible way is to try to give blood.  
Avatar universal
I would expect the AMA and medical community in general should recommend it for certain lifestyle and blood transfusions before 92 (or so).  Insurance co's may push back for cost reasons.  Additonally, there is a portion of the medical poplulation that should have mandatory testing to be able to practice.  I know many are afraid of just that.
163305 tn?1333672171
Where I live you can get free testing, this is not true in many places and many people are on limited incomes, don't have insurance, etc.

It's not what I would do but it's each person's choice what they do.
Please don't judge.
1815939 tn?1377995399
"I would expect the AMA and medical community in general should recommend it for certain lifestyle and blood transfusions before 92 (or so). "
------------------------------

The CDC does recommend Hep C testing for high risk groups. That is a problem because not only lay people but also doctors feel only high risk groups are at risk and most think high risk means IV drug use or cocaine snorting.

The CDC does include other risk factors that should promt testing:

"HCV testing is recommended for anyone at increased risk for HCV infection, including:
•Persons who have ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected only once many years ago
•Recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
•Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July 1992
•Patients who have ever received long-term hemodialysis treatment
•Persons with known exposures to HCV, such as◦health care workers after needlesticks involving HCV-positive blood
◦recipients of blood or organs from a donor who later tested HCV-positive
•All persons with HIV infection
•Patients with signs or symptoms of liver disease (e.g., abnormal liver enzyme tests)
•Children born to HCV-positive mothers (to avoid detecting maternal antibody, these children should not be tested before age 18 months)"

In a recent survey only 8% of doctors follow the CDC guidelines and test people who fall under the risk groups noted above. In addition, most docs do not ask patients if they fall into the risk groups noted above. How many people on this forum were ever asked if they fell into a Hep C high risk group. I would bet not many. So if the docs don't know if someone falls into a high risk group, then they won't test for Hep C. Also, since 40% of people have no idea how they contacted Hep C, that 40% will never suspect they have Hep C and neither will the doc, even if he/she does ask about high risk groups.

In my opinion (and the opinion of several Hepatologists), the recommendation should be to test everyone born between certain years starting at 1945 (sorry, cannot find the articles with the cutoff date, I think some say 1965 and others say 1992). Personally, I think everyone should be tested routinely. (Maybe not every year, but perhaps initially and then every 5 years.)

Here is a link to a Nov. article:
http://newsatjama.jama.com/2011/11/04/screening-baby-boomers-for-hepatitis-c-may-be-cost-effective-way-to-reduce-deaths-from-the-infection/

Avatar universal
The blood supply today is as safe as technology can make it. However, it isn't 100%. Therefore, it is not a good idea to donate blood to see if you are hep C positive. If you are uninsured or underinsured it is possible to find low cost or free testing at one of the clinics run by HRSA. Every state has clinics like this. You can look them up by State, at the Bureau of Primary Healthcare site.
1491755 tn?1333204962
Well show up and tell the local blood drive and tell them your real intention is to find out if you have HCV.  How do you think they will respond ?

"I'm poor there are different rules for me". Not when it comes to possibly infecting others with HCV.  C'mon you know it's wrong....or maybe not.
163305 tn?1333672171
How are you going to infect the blood bank when they test you first?
It would be criminal for them not to test for hepc and hiv before accepting blood.

I don't think it's a good idea but I do understand the logic behind it.
Avatar universal
I agree with Susie & James on this . On the one hand we are talking constantly (3 threads currently) about how inept often times the medical community is ,so we can't say on the other hand the practices on blood donations are all fail safe.

No one should get a precursor testing  for HCV by donating blood IMO.

AsSusie said there are  free clinics and many low-cost testing facilities.

Will
163305 tn?1333672171
What is really needed here is what got me so excited a few weeks back, the big sign saying FREE HEP C Testing, and parked beside it was a mobile clinic.

You can say all states have free testing available but who knows about it? How many people are going to seek it out?

True, on thinking it over, which this being my day-after-shot day, the mind isn't working well, the blood bank isn't a good idea.
Too easy to slip up.
My apologies James.
Avatar universal
I suggested giving blood to find out if you have Hep C and James 10500 responded that this would be irresponsible.
It is responsible to give blood if you answer the pre-donation questionaire honestly unless you know or have reason to believe that you are not suitable as a donor.  They will tell reject your blood and tell you that you have Hep C if that is the case.  Otherwise, you can feel good about having given blood and can plan on doing it again.  
I had major surgery and received 7 units of various blood products and felt I should give back. Unfortunately, I received a letter rejecting my blood because I had antibodies but no Hep C virus.  It was troubling to find out but even more troubling to read the stories of those who do not know they have the disease until they are serously ill.  
Just try to give blood and find out. It is responsible to yourself and to the community unless you know you may well have a problem.  
Avatar universal
Just wanted to clarify one of my points which is every medical staff member involved in surgery, needles...should be tested to be REQUIRED to be tested for all Hep B/C.  Voluntary is not enough.
Avatar universal
is responsible to give blood if you answer the pre-donation questionnaire honestly unless you know or have reason to believe that you are not suitable as a donor.  They will tell reject your blood and tell you that you have Hep C if that is the case.  Otherwise, you can feel good about having given blood and can plan on doing it again.  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just in the last 2 days on this forum we have seen articles(Posted one myself) about the sometimes utter lack of safeguards being practised often in the medical community and the lack of needed attention when it comes to spreading infectious diseases.

To think that mistakes will not be made at a donation site or lab because you filled out a form is grossly naive.

The fail safe methods are in place ,however we humans make mistakes,either from sheer purposeful negligence,laziness or ignorance.

To donate blood is certainly honorable ,however to use this vehicle as a means to ascertain whether or not one has HCV is anything but responsible.

If it turned out you had HCV and  your blood was the one they made the mistake on and you infected 5 people with HCV .all because you did not seek out another means of testing...how would you feel.?

Blood donation should "never " be used as a means to find out HCV status IMO

Will
1856494 tn?1340546214
I have a friend that doesn't test for Hep C though she was a victim of heroin for a time because she doesn't want to be on the CDC list.  She thinks it causes stigma in the medical hiarchy.  I wish I could change her mind.
1491755 tn?1333204962
You suggested giving blood as a means to get tested for HCV, that is irresponsible period.  You want to get tested for a disease that kills someone every hour in the US go get tested for it, that is the responsible thing to do.  

What kind of a delta bravo would use a blood donation as a blood test for infectious disease, kind of a trailer trash move ....imho.

Ya I understand the selfish logic behind it too.
Avatar universal
Oh, please, please don't donate blood just to see if you have HCV.
That is just taking a step back in time.

My son passed away at age 26 because of tainted blood products
during the early eighties, he was born in 81 with severe hemophilia A.
He needed factor VIII to live and ended up killing him and many more
people infected with HCV , by brother also , he was Thirty. And so many
more.

This is not a game , this is serious and, you're playing with people's lives'

Please be honest when filling out the questionnaire .
I tried to give blood also about 5 years ago, but because I had come in contact with my son , ( his blood)I could not and did not.

My daughter was able to since she was not in with his blood contact for over two years.
She already knew she was negative anyway.

Please, think of other people and the blood supply and blood products are
safe today, I still recommend , if you know you need surgery ahead of time
you can donate your own blood. Our nations blood supply is still not 100%.


1815939 tn?1377995399
I have no problem with testing all medical staff as long as all people everywhere are tested. To single out one occupation for testing is not appropriate in my opinion. Medical people are not the only people who can transmit Hep C.

Anyway, if you are going to test all medical personnel who are involved in surgery, needles, etc. then you must test all medical personnel, (doctors, nurses, lab techs, plebotomists, respiratory therapists, special processing aides, to name just a very few), dental personnel, accupuncturists, etc.

As a side note, I have never heard of a medical person sticking himself with a needle and then using that same needle on the patient after sticking himself/herself. It happens the other way around. Needle in patient first, then the needle accidentally sticks the medical person (for any number of reasons but usually because the patient is wiggling around).

Testing only certain occupations does not get to the problem and does not stop the spread of disease. As you know, I do think all people should be tested routinely, but not to stigmatize them or attempt to keep them from working. Rather they should be tested so they can be treated.

The emphasis should be placed on routine testing of everyone, treating those who are infected, and following strict infection control practices in every case  and in every occupation.

Just my opinion.
163305 tn?1333672171
"The emphasis should be placed on routine testing of everyone"

I agree. That sums it up perfectly.
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