As hepatitis C has now passed HIV/AIDS as the chronic viral infection causing the most deaths in the United States, – and treatment for hepatitis C is more effective than ever – states are seeing more value than ever before in screening the most vulnerable populations for this infection.
Physicians and other hepatitis C experts have been calling for widespread hepatitis C screenings for a long time, just as I have done multiple times, such as in my blog Don’t Delay, Get Tested Today. Legislatures are starting to join in now, with New York, Connecticut, California, and other states creating laws (or currently considering doing so) that require hospitals and health service providers to offer hepatitis C tests to all Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers, those born between 1945 and 1965, are the cohort with the greatest number of hepatitis C infections and fatalities. Of the 4 million cases of hepatitis C in the United States, most do not even know they have this disease. Yet, if it’s caught early enough, today’s hepatitis C treatments can cure the majority of cases. The current treatment has never been easier. Getting screened can literally be a life saver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if all Baby Boomers were screened and then treated, more than 120,000 deaths would be prevented.
Yesterday, May 19, 2014, was the third national Hepatitis Testing Day hosted by the CDC. Just because that day has passed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get tested. It’s easy and fast and could save your life.