Are you a baby boomer born between 1945 and 1965? If the answer is yes, you may be at risk for hepatitis C infection. Baby boomers are strongly encouraged to get a one-time blood test for the virus. The baby boomer generation includes any one person living in the U.S. between the ages of 47-67. A recent finding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 1 in 30 baby boomers are currently infected with the virus. That number includes 2 million Americans of which 75% of infections can be curable.
Hepatitis C is a blood-born sexually transmitted infection (STI) passed through blood-to-blood contact and can lead to severe liver damage, liver cancer, and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States. Often the symptoms of hepatitis C go unnoticed or they are mistaken for other illnesses, which is why it is important to be tested. Symptoms of hepatitis C can include fever, fatigue, tea-colored urine, clay-colored stools, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, or jaundice. But again, the virus may go undetected for years without testing.
A one-time hepatitis C test will help the CDC identify 800,000 new people–an entire generation–who are at risk. If you are part of the baby boomer generation, getting tested will help you identify your own risk and help save the lives of many who are already infected but may not know it.