Hep C: Get Tested, Get Treated
Hep C: Get Tested, Get Treated (Photo credit: AJC1)

Body Tip Get tested for hepatitis C. Baby boomers account for 75 percent of all hepatitis C cases in the U.S., and most people don’t know they have it.

The CDC is urging all people born between 1945 and 1965 to get a one-time test for hepatitis C. Even though baby boomers make up just 27 percent of the population, they account for three-quarters of all hepatitis C cases in the U.S. Because people with hepatitis C can live for decades without symptoms, 75 percent of those infected with the disease don’t even know they have it. By the time you realize something is wrong, liver damage may have already occurred. Untreated hepatitis C can cause liver cancer or cirrhosis, so it’s important to find out if you’ve been infected. Hepatitis C is spread through blood or sexual contact. Baby boomers are especially at risk, because blood screening and safe sex weren’t advocated before the AIDS crisis. Baby boomers may have contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion, an organ transplant, unprotected vaginal or anal sex, sharing needles, and other routes. Although less common, people can also contract the disease by coming into contact with someone’s blood when sharing a toothbrush or razor. If you have engaged in any of these behaviors or were born before 1965, ask your doctor about getting tested.


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