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Volume XXXII
Winter 2018

Outlook

One in 3 Baby Boomers Has Hep C

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965) get tested for Hep C.

Hepatitis C (Hep C) is a serious, bloodborne disease that has been under the radar. It's not talked about much, so even though it affects millions, many people don't know about it. It's almost been forgotten. People live with it for years or even decades with no symptoms, while Hep C slowly damages their liver. By the time symptoms do appear, liver damage is often advanced. Left untreated, Hep C can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and even death.

That's why it's important to get tested, so you can know for sure. And if you have Hep C, it can be cured.

There are many reasons why Baby Boomers are at higher risk for Hep C:

According to the CDC, many boomers were infected in the 70s and 80s when infection control standards were not what they are today.

The Hep C virus wasn't discovered until 1989. Donated blood was not screened for Hep C until 1992.

It can take years–even decades–for symptoms of Hep C to appear, so boomers may only be showing symptoms now. The Hep C virus can be transmitted by small amounts of blood and can live outside the body for up to 3 weeks. There are many ways people can get Hep C, for example:

  • Blood transfusions, organ donations, or blood products before 1992.
  • Unsterilized tools at tattoo parlors.
  • Past recreational drug use, even if just once.
  • Less common, sharing personal items that have infected blood, such as shaving razors or toothbrushes.

Recent scientific advances have made today's treatments for Hep C shorter and more effective, with cure rates of around 95 percent. You are considered cured when a lab test done 3 months after you've completed treatment does not find any Hep C virus in your blood.

The Hep C test is not part of routine blood work, so call your doctor before your next appointment to have the Hep C test added to your lab order.

For more information, visit HEPCHOPE.COM or call 844-9-HEPCHOPE to talk to a Hep C Educator.