Only about half of people in the United States with hepatitis C know they have the curable disease, new data shows.
That lack of awareness contributes to increasing rates of hepatitis C infection and means the country is unlikely to meet its own or World Health Organization target dates for eliminating the disease, researchers said.
Hepatitis C can cause liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer and led to about 23,000 deaths in the United States in 2016 — a toll that’s rising every year, according to the data gathered by researchers with the Polaris Observatory and the Center for Disease Analysis Foundation in Colorado.
Currently, the number of hepatitis C deaths in the United States each year is greater than the number of HIV-related deaths. Since 2012, hepatitis C deaths have outnumbered deaths from