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Hepatitis C and African Americans 

Hepatitis C is more prevalent among African-Americans than any other group.

Not so long ago, treating hepatitis C was a decidedly bleak affair. And the prospect of curing the potentially life-threatening virus, or infection, which causes liver disease and inflammation of the organ, was a long shot. As a result, many patients opted to forgo treatment.

The virus can make some people very sick, and over time can cause serious health problems, including liver damage and even liver cancer. This includes cirrhosis.

Hepatitis C virus is transmitted by exposure to blood or other bodily fluids of people who are infected. Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus.

Risk factors for having a hepatitis C infection include: injection drug use now or in the past; blood transfusion prior to 1992; being on long-term hemodialysis; incarceration; using intranasal drugs; having an unregulated tattoo; and exposure to blood as a health worker (for example, from a needle stick).

Approximately 2.7 million Americans have a chronic hepatitis C infection. Between 1 and 5 percent of these people will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer. A resurgence of injection narcotic use has also led to infections in young adults under the age of 30 in the U.S.

Though the virus wasn’t discovered until 1989, public health data suggest it was being transmitted decades prior to that time. People born from 1945 to 1965 or baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C. Unfortunately, African Americans born during these years have twice the rates as other baby boomers. While African Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they make up roughly 22 percent of the estimated 3.2 million persons with chronic HCV infection. Moreover, chronic liver disease, often hepatitis C-related, is a leading cause of death among African Americans ages 45-64.

Hepatitis C is more prevalent among African Americans than among persons of any other racial group in the United States.

Read Full Article: Hepatitis C and African Americans – The Philadelphia Tribune: Health

Read Full Article: Hepatitis C and African Americans – The Philadelphia Tribune: Health

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