By Kim Polacek
If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you may want to circle May 19 on your calendar.
That’s National Hepatitis Testing Day, part of Hepatitis Awareness Month, and a great opportunity for baby boomers to get screened for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is called the "silent epidemic" because . . . Boomers tend to be more affected by Hepatitis C than other generations. The infection is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person, and transmission of the virus was at its highest between the 1960s and 1980s.
Hepatitis C is the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer. While curable with treatment, there is no vaccination to prevent you from contracting the disease.
Many healthcare providers are offering free testing on May 19. To find out a testing location near you, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
Know your ABCs
There are three kinds of hepatitis: A, B and C. They are different diseases caused by a different virus. Millions of Americans have chronic viral hepatitis and most do not know they are infected.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Hepatitis A does not cause a long-term infection. It is treatable and preventable with vaccination.
- Hepatitis B is treatable and preventable with vaccination
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections and lead to severe health problems.
- Hepatitis C is curable with treatment, but there is no vaccination to prevent the disease.