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Screenings Aim to Reduce HIV, Hep-C Infection Rates

Screenings for both hepatitis C and HIV are important.

On World AIDS Day, December 1, governmental and healthcare agencies across the globe are hosting events to recognize and raise awareness about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the early stage of the disease. An estimated 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV and about 25 percent of them also have hepatitis C, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Baby boomers are one of the fastest growing groups of people to be exposed to the hepatitis C (Hep C) infection, says the CDC. According to the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County has the highest rates of new HIV cases in the country.

The CDC report says baby boomers, when compared to other age groups, are 5 times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C. The agency cites blood and organ donations in the 1970s and 1980s as a factor. Back then, HIV screenings were not prevalent and Hep C screenings were not part of the baby boomers’ regular doctor checkups. This is why boomers are at a higher risk of being infected.

Thanks to screenings and public education, the number of new HIV cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. has been on the decline in recent years, decreasing by 9 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to the CDC. Here are other key facts from the CDC about the viruses:

  • In 2013, people aged 55 and older accounted for more than one-quarter (26 percent or 319,900) of the estimated 1.2 million people living with diagnosed or undiagnosed HIV infection in the U.S.
  • In 2014, 40 percent of people aged 55 and older were diagnosed with AIDS at the time of HIV diagnosis (i.e., diagnosed late in the course of the infection).
  • Nearly 75 percent of people with HIV who report a history of injection drug use also are infected with the Hep C virus.
  • People born during 1945-1965 account for nearly 75 percent of all chronic Hep C infections in the U.S.
  • From 2012 to 2013, rates of acute hepatitis C increased 33 percent among blacks/African Americans, 28 percent among whites and 5 percent among Hispanics/Latinos.

Read full article: Screenings Aim to Reduce HIV, Hep-C Infection Rates (VIDEO)

Read Full Article: Screenings Aim to Reduce HIV, Hep-C Infection Rates (VIDEO)

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