Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can lead to a chronic infection and damage to the liver. Chronic hepatitis C infection is curable in most cases, but many people living with hepatitis C do not know they are infected and are not accessing treatment that can prevent disease progression and liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
According to the CDC, approximately 75 percent of all people who are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus in the United States are baby boomers who were born between 1945 and 1965. This age group also experiences one of the highest death rates from the virus. As these individuals grow older and live longer with undiagnosed hepatitis C virus infection, they are increasingly likely to develop severe liver disease and liver cancer.
May 19, National Hepatitis Testing Day, offers an opportunity to reach new groups, to raise awareness of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and to encourage more individuals to learn their status. The CDC recommends that all adults born between 1945 and 1965 receive one-time testing for the hepatitis C virus. By testing and diagnosing all baby boomers with chronic hepatitis C virus, we can care for and cure many, averting at least 120,000 deaths, according to one CDC estimate.
The CDC maintains a website that makes it easy to find a local provider for hepatitis C testing.
More information on Hepatitis and Older Adults:
- The HHS hepatitis webpage contains general information on hepatitis C infection. The Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy has compiled a list of campaigns/events throughout the month of May, virtual and across the country; you can download the full list on their Hepatitis Awareness Month page.
- CDC’s Know More Hepatitis campaign is designed to raise awareness and encourage hepatitis C testing in the baby boomer population. The campaign includes videos, downloadable posters, graphics, and a two-page factsheet.
- Help-4-Hep is a free service that offers hotline support for anyone seeking more information on hepatitis C. The hotline is staffed by peer counselors—usually a person who has had hepatitis C—who can answer questions about testing, finding a clinic, support group, and treatment. Calls to Help-4-Hep are toll-free and confidential. 877-Help-4-Hep (877-435-7443).
- To further raise awareness and promote Hepatitis Testing Day, please consider participating in & supporting the Be #HepAware Thunderclap on May 19th at 12:00 p.m. EDT/9:00 a.m. PDT.