Department of Health Press Releases


DOH Partners with Local Labs to Expand Testing for Curable Hepatitis C

Posted on October 19, 2022 in Press Room

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) is partnering with Diagnostic Laboratory Services (DLS) and Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii (CLH) to encourage providers to perform “reflex” hepatitis C testing, which it will help more people to be diagnosed and cured. of hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is currently detected by antibody tests, but requires an RNA test to confirm infection. The reflex test ensures that when an antibody screening test is positive, the sample is automatically processed by the laboratory to confirm hepatitis C infection using an RNA test. The DOH, DLS, and CLH urge healthcare providers to request the “reflex” option when testing for Hepatitis C, to ensure more accurate and timely diagnoses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommend that all adults over 18 years of age get tested for hepatitis C at least once, regardless of any known risk. Hepatitis C testing involves a simple blood draw and can be ordered through health care providers.

“By promoting the option to ‘mirror’ hepatitis C testing to confirmation testing, our local laboratories are helping to improve the path to cure for many people in Hawaii,” said Thaddeus Pham, hepatitis C prevention coordinator. DOH viral hepatitis. “Our laboratories have always been essential partners in public health, and we are excited and grateful for their partnership in ensuring that more people have timely access to curative treatment for hepatitis C, beginning with diagnosis.”

“Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. (DLS) is proud to partner with DOH to help our community fight liver disease and liver cancer through ‘reflex’ hepatitis C testing,” said Mark Wasielewski, president of DOH. Diagnostic Laboratory Service, Inc. It is only by working together that we can perform a Hepatitis free 2030 Hawaii.”

“Clinical Labs of Hawaii is proud to support this initiative and partner with the DOH and Hawaii health care providers to promote confirmatory testing for Hepatitis C,” said Dr. Owen Chan, Medical Director of Clinical Labs of Hawaii. . “Hepatitis C, if detected early through laboratory testing, is treatable and many subsequent illnesses are preventable.”

Hepatitis C is spread primarily by blood-to-blood transmission, especially through shared injection equipment.

  • October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month and Hawaii has one of the highest rates of liver cancer in the US. The leading causes are viral hepatitis B and C. In the US, new cases of hepatitis C are on the rise, increasing by more than 60% between 2015 and 2019.
  • Nearly half of people with hepatitis C do not know they are infected. Timely and complete testing is the first step to accessing curative treatment. However, one in three people with a positive HCV antibody test do not receive a confirmatory RNA test.
  • Hepatitis C is curable for most people within 12 weeks. A positive HCV RNA test is needed to diagnose current HCV infection and initiate curative oral therapy. Without treatment, 15-20% of adults with chronic HCV infection will develop progressive liver fibrosis and cirrhosis that can lead to death.

Both the CDC and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recognize HCV antibody screening followed by confirmatory RNA testing as best practice for identifying HCV infection. hepatitis C infection.

Both DLS and CLH have the option to have positive HCV antibody tests automatically “mirrored” to HCV RNA testing from the same blood sample. (CLH test code: HCVABR (0437); DLS test code: 542R)

This association aligns with Hepatitis free 2030, the statewide strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis in Hawaii by 2030, which was developed by the DOH in collaboration with Hep Free Hawaii and more than 160 community stakeholders. For more information on hepatitis elimination efforts in Hawaii, visit

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PDF: DOH Partners with Local Labs to Expand Testing for Curable Hepatitis C


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