Hepatitis Awareness Month: Baby Boomers and African-Americans Most Likely to Test Positive for Deadly Hepatitis C

This article was reported by Medical Daily.

Medical Daily reported that CDC has designated May 19, the third Monday of Hepatitis Awareness Month, as Testing Day, and Acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris D. Lushniak is urging baby boomers and African Americans to make appointments to get tested for hepatitis C virus (HCV) this month.

HCV, a blood-borne disease that can damage the liver, can be fatal and often goes undetected for decades before showing any signs of damage. Lushniak approximates that 75 percent of the 2.7 to 3.9 million Americans infected with HCV are baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965. CDC now recommends that all primary care physicians routinely test all adults in this age group, regardless of perceived risk. "As a fellow baby boomer, I am very concerned that one in 40 baby boomers -- about 2.1 million people -- are infected with HCV," Lushniak stated.

Health experts say that one-third of HCV-infected people may die from the disease without detection and treatment, and 75 percent of those will be baby boomers. If a person tests positive, then a physician can test for the viral load of the disease. While not indicating cirrhosis or liver failure, a low viral load usually indicates a better response to treatment.