Hep C. Better to Know

Hepatitis C is diagnosed with a simple blood test. You may think you have been tested, but chances are you haven’t. Watch this video from the American Gastroenterological Association to learn more.

10 Facts About Hepatitis C:

  1. Hepatitis C, a silent and potentially deadly chronic liver disease, is a serious health issue facing our country today. It can be diagnosed with a simple and inexpensive blood test.
  2. As with any progressive chronic disease, the earlier it is detected and treatment begins, the greater the prevention of serious and life-threatening complications. Many people feel fine. Until they don’t. Usually at that point, there is little that can be done to reverse the damage.
  3. Up to 5 million Americans have hepatitis C — five times the number of people with HIV — and it is the leading cause of liver failure, liver cancer, and the need for a liver transplant in the US.  More people die from hepatitis C than from HIV in the US each year.
  4. Baby Boomers represent 82 percent of the nearly 5 million people with hepatitis C in the US. Yet 83 percent of baby boomers have never had a discussion with their healthcare provider about hepatitis C.
  5. In addition to boomers, African Americans and Hispanics have a higher rate of the disease. The highest infection rate is among adult African American men.
  6. Most new hepatitis C infections occur among young adults experimenting with drugs, or piercing and tattooing with unsterile equipment.
  7. Military training and combat offer many opportunities for transmission of hepatitis C due to blood-to-blood contact. Field bleeding, surgery and transfusions, and other blood exposures constitute risk. Vietnam veterans who became civilian first-responders entering their career before “universal precautions” face similar exposure risks.
  8. Because professional tattoo artists are required to have sterile instruments, it’s unusual for hepatitis C to be spread through licensed, commercial tattooing facilities.
  9. However, transmission of hepatitis C is possible when poor infection-control practices are used or in unregulated tattooing and piercing settings (such as jail, prison, and other informal places).
  10. In general, there is greater concern by young adults about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. However, most are unaware of how hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread. Even when receiving medical care, young adults are least likely to be screened for viral hepatitis.

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877‑HELP‑4‑HEP     (877‑435‑7443)