By Kim Polacek
"Find the Missing Millions" is an apt theme for World Hepatitis Day on July 28. Although there are 292 million people worldwide living with chronic hepatitis, only 10 percent are aware of their diagnosis.
If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you are especially encouraged to be screened for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is called the "silent epidemic" because baby 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.
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.