Help-4-Hep is a non-profit toll-free helpline for those with concerns about hepatitis C.
Call the Helpline NOW!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Most new hepatitis C infections occur among young adults experimenting with drugs, or piercing and tattooing with unsterile equipment.
- 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.
- Because professional tattoo artists are required to have sterile instruments, it’s unusual for hepatitis C to be spread through licensed, commercial tattooing facilities.
- 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).
- 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.