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Hepatitis Awareness Without Action Equals Death

Hepatitis Awareness Month occurs all month in May. Viral hepatitis is a significant problem and if we don’t act now, the death rate will continue to rise.

Hepatitis Awareness Month is observed the entire month of May. Unlike HIV or breast cancer, hepatitis B and C are the awkward diseases that comedians joke about, but few understand the seriousness of these problems. Viral hepatitis desperately needs every bit of awareness and subsequent intervention and prevention it can muster.

Consider hepatitis C, the more prevalent of the two chronic forms of viral hepatitis. Beginning in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of deaths associated with hepatitis C surpassed all 59 other notifiable infectious conditions. Despite the high mortality rate, funding for viral hepatitis-related services is paltry. Currently, there is no money for a nationally coordinated chronic viral hepatitis surveillance system.

The CDC conservatively estimates that there are 3.4 to 5.3 million people with chronic hepatitis B and C in the US. Between 2010 and 2013, new hep C infection rates increased by 151 percent, largely because of opioid use. For the first time since 1990, the number of acute hepatitis B cases has increased.

The majority of people living with chronic viral hepatitis do not know they have it. Hepatitis Awareness Month isn’t reaching them. Viral hepatitis doesn’t have its own postage stamp or national spokesperson. Hepatitis organizations can’t even agree on the color of its awareness ribbons. Are they red, yellow, red and yellow, or red and blue? What we can agree on is that viral hepatitis is a huge problem and if we don’t act now, the death rate will continue to rise.

Read Full Article: Hepatitis Awareness Without Action Equals Death


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