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On Hepatitis Awareness Month, Get Tested

Tuesday May 17, 2016

It's bad enough that baby boomers have to deal with so many health issues from colonoscopies to menopause to forgetfulness. Now you have to be aware of Hepatitis C. May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that anyone born from 1945 through 1965 get tested for Hepatitis C.
 
In fact, everyone has to be aware of Hepatitis, starting at A and going through C. The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective can help you be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B and get tested for Hepatitis C. Learn how to avoid getting this debilitating disease from our staff and volunteers.
 
We are fortunate to be in a community that supports us and the work we do. We may not be in North Carolina, but we have to remember that even in the United States, not everyone is equal. Now more than ever, remember to Be Well, Be Yourself. 


Why should baby boomers get tested for Hepatitis C?

While anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75 percent 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.


    May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and the American Liver Foundation urges everyone to learn what can be done to prevent the spread of hepatitis. Many forms of hepatitis are preventable and can be treated if detected early. The word 'hepatitis' means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, heavy alcohol use, bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis.

    Viral hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Up to 5.3 million Americans have chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection. About 75 percent of the infected population with Hepatitis C are unaware that they are even infected.

    Contact the Health Collective to get your Hepatitis A & B vaccines and to get tested for Hepatitis C. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. Get the facts at the Health Collective.


    For more information or to make an appointment, call 860-278-4163 or visit https://www.hglhc.org/


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