Sexual Health news - Hepatitis B and C

CDC recommends all baby boomers get screened for hepatitis C

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new recommendation that baby boomers receive blood tests for hepatitis C. This includes all American adults who were born between 1945 and 1965. These guidelines are an effect of new research finding that this specific population accounts for 75 percent of the 3 million individuals in the country who are infected with the virus.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that is caused by a viral infection. The biggest problem with the condition is that affected patients often have no symptoms and can go for decades without feeling sick. However, it's essential for those infected to receive treatment in order to prevent adverse health complications, such as liver damage, cirrhosis and death. The good news is that hepatitis C can be treated successfully with medications if diagnosed early enough.

Previously, only people who were determined by a clinician to be at high risk of contracting hepatitis C - which is typically spread when blood from an infected individual enters the body of another - were tested for the virus. However, researchers are now saying that more caution is needed given recent trends. 

"A one-time blood test for hepatitis C should be on every baby boomer's medical checklist," said Thomas Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC. "The new recommendations can protect the health of an entire generation of Americans and save thousands of lives."

Another way that people can contract hepatitis C is through sexual contact with an infected individual. Therefore, it's important for those who switch partners to routinely use condoms to prevent transmission of the virus and other sexually transmitted diseases until both people have been tested.