Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

May 23, 2018 One in 30 baby boomers has hepatitis C and most don't know it
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

(BPT) - The various forms of viral hepatitis impact millions of people across the U.S. As a critical public health concern, May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month to encourage people to be educated about hepatitis and motivate those at risk to be tested.

For baby boomers, or those born between 1945 and 1965, an important part of this conversation is hepatitis C. Hep C is a liver infection caused by a virus primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. The virus causes more than 40% of all chronic liver disease in the U.S., including liver cancer, and has been one of the leading causes of liver transplants for many years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hep C affects more than 3.5 million people in the U.S., but more than half aren’t aware they are infected. Hep C is often referred to as a “silent epidemic,” as a person can have the virus for decades without any symptoms. In fact, most people only find out they have Hep C after learning they have a liver problem.

Why are baby boomers at high risk of having hepatitis C?

Despite only making up 27% of the U.S. population, boomers account for more than 75% of Hep C cases in the U.S. The CDC estimates boomers are 5 times more likely to have Hep C than the average adult.

Hep C rates peaked in the 1970s and 1980s when boomers may have been exposed to infected blood before certain safety precautions were adopted for common medical procedures, like blood transfusions and hemodialysis, and even body piercing and tattoos.

To assess their risk for Hep C, baby boomers can visit KnowAboutHepC.com to take a brief risk quiz.

Why should someone be tested for hepatitis C?

The only way to know if someone has Hep C is through a blood test, yet only 13% of boomers report having been tested for the virus. The CDC recommends all boomers speak with their doctors and request a simple, 1-time test for Hep C.

One-time testing of all boomers could prevent more than 120,000 Hep C-related deaths. Quest Diagnostics, a leading diagnostics company, has more than 2,200 Patient Services Centers with labs offering Hep C testing for boomers.

Quest Diagnostics patient Robin Roth was diagnosed with Hep C following a routine doctor’s visit and it changed her life. Watch Robin’s journey and other patient experiences from diagnosis to recovery at KnowAboutHepC.com.

Is there a cure for hepatitis C?

Yes, there are successful treatments that can cure the virus and prevent liver damage, cirrhosis, and disease. Treatment typically includes taking pills for 8 to 12 weeks with mild and manageable side effects. With treatment, 95% to 99% percent of people can be cured.

The biggest barrier to treatment is diagnosis, which is why every baby boomer should get tested for Hep C today.

Hep C can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to. For more information, visit KnowAboutHepC.com.

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