Although anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75% of adults infected are baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1965). The reasons for this are not well understood. However, most infected boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s, when rates of Hep C transmission were the highest. Since people can live with hepatitis C infection for decades without knowing it, many boomers may be living with an infection they got many years ago.
Hep C: A silent epidemic
Because of the size of the baby boomer population, and because boomers are aging, hepatitis C infection is considered a silent, looming epidemic. The CDC calls it “an unrecognized health crisis in the United States.” That’s why the CDC and other health officials recommend one-time hepatitis C testing for all baby boomers.
Knowing is the first step
If you test negative, then you know you don’t have the virus. A positive hepatitis C antibody with reflex to PCR test means that you have been infected. If you are infected, treatments are available. You may be able to slow or stop the damage to your liver, and even clear the virus. Your doctor will tell you what steps you can take.
Are you at risk for Hep C? Take the quiz. Get tested. Be #HepAware.