An estimated 3.5 million Americans are living with hepatitis C, and at least 50 percent do not know they are infected. Approximately 75 to 85 percent of people who become infected with hepatitis C develop a life-long, chronic infection.
What Can We Do?
Because of the silent nature of the disease, a blood test is needed to identify persons infected with hepatitis C virus. To help find some of these unknown infections, CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a one-time hepatitis C test for all persons born from 1945–1965 regardless of race or ethnicity.
Early detection, care, and treatment can save lives. Testing is the only way to know if someone has hepatitis C. If detected early, new treatments are available that can cure 90% of hepatitis C infected persons who complete therapy. Fortunately, these new treatments are safe and have few side-effects. Once diagnosed, most persons with hepatitis C can be cured in just 8 to 12 weeks, reducing liver cancer risk by 75%.
May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day. I encourage you to share information about Hepatitis C, get tested and encourage testing, and learn more about treatment. Together we can help stop the Hepatitis C virus and save lives.