Hepatitis C – Are You in the Age Group That’s Five Times More Likely to Be Infected?

Did you know that most people with hepatitis C are not even aware that they are infected? Since many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without symptoms or feeling sick, testing is critical so those who are infected can get treated and cured.

While anyone can get hepatitis C, 75 percent of infected people were born from 1945–1965. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people born from during that time are also five times more likely to have hepatitis C.

Unfortunately, the reason for those high rates of hepatitis C for baby boomers is not completely understood. Most are believed to have become infected in the 1960s through the 1980s when transmission of hepatitis C was highest. It is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Baby boomers could have gotten infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted.

Hepatitis C can cause liver failure and liver cancer if gone untreated over a period of time. Hepatitis C is the number one cause of liver transplants in the U.S.

The good news is that a once-daily pill can cure hepatitis C.

The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to get tested. A blood test, called a hepatitis C antibody test, can tell if a person has ever been infected with the hepatitis C virus.

Reviewed by Jennifer Marlowe, Director, Mission Chronic Condition Clinic.

Ask your primary care physician how to be screened for hepatitis C today. To find a Mission primary care provider, call (828) 213-3222 or request an appointment at mission-health.org/needadoc [1].

For questions about hepatitis C, contact the Mission Chronic Condition Clinic at (828) 213-3124 or chronicconditionclinic@msj.org.