Why should baby boomers get tested for Hepatitis C?
While anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75% of adults infected are baby boomers, people born from 1945 through 1965. Most people with Hepatitis C don’t know they are infected.
- Baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C.
- Liver disease, liver cancer, and deaths from Hepatitis C are on the rise.
- The longer people live with Hepatitis C, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease
- Getting tested can help people learn if they are infected and get them into lifesaving care and treatment.
- For many people, treatments are available that can cure Hepatitis C and prevent liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.
Why do baby boomers have such high rates of Hepatitis C?
The reason that baby boomers have high rates of Hepatitis C is not completely understood. Most boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were the highest. Since people with Hepatitis C can live for decades without symptoms, many baby boomers are unknowingly living with an infection they got many years ago. Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Many baby boomers could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of the blood supply in 1992 and universal precautions were adopted. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if only once in the past. Still, many baby boomers do not know how or when they were infected.
What should baby boomers know about Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Some people who get infected with Hepatitis C are able to clear, or get rid of, the virus, but most people who get infected develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death. In fact, Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the leading cause of liver transplants.
People with Hepatitis C:
- Often have no symptoms
- Can live with an infection for decades without feeling sick
- Can be successfully treated with medications
How would someone know they have Hepatitis C?
The only way to know if someone has Hepatitis C is to get tested. To find out if a person has ever been infected, a Hepatitis C Antibody Test would be ordered. The Hepatitis C Antibody Test looks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected.
How can I get tested?
Did you know you can order your own test right now to see if you’ve been infected with Hepatitis C, without consulting a healthcare provider?
Simply choose our Hepatitis C Profile listed below, and our board-certified physician will authorize you to have that test performed by a reputable, accredited laboratory that meets the highest standards in laboratory testing. You will receive a laboratory requisition in your email that you can bring with you to more than 50 convenient Health Network Laboratory testing locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
When your results are ready, we will let you know. Your test results are secure, confidential and available to only you. You can choose if you want to share your results with anyone else, including your doctor. Plus, you can track your results right on the website, so the entire experience fits right into your schedule.
Information provided by: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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