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BABY BOOMERS HAS HEP C, AND MOST DON’T EVEN KNOW IT.

Hepatitis C (Hep C) is a serious, blood-borne disease that has been under the radar. It’s not talked about much, so even though it affects millions, many people don’t know about it. It’s almost been forgotten. People live with it for years or even decades with no symptoms, while Hep C slowly damages their liver. By the time symptoms do appear, liver damage is often advanced. Left untreated, Hep C can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and even death.

That’s why it’s important to get tested, so you can know for sure. And if you have Hep C, it can be cured.

REASONS TO GET TESTED

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all Baby Boomers (born 1945–1965) get tested for Hep C.

WHY?

  • ~3.5 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE US HAVE HEP C. ABOUT HALF DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE IT

  • HEP C ISN’T PART OF ROUTINE BLOOD WORK

  • PEOPLE BORN 1945–1965 ARE 5 TIMES MORE LIKELY THAN OTHER AGE GROUPS TO HAVE HEP C

  • EACH YEAR, MORE PEOPLE DIE FROM HEP C THAN HIV

  • MANY BABY BOOMERS HAVE BEEN INFECTED FOR 20 YEARS OR MORE, YET HAVE NO SYMPTOMS

  • GET TESTED TO KNOW FOR SURE. IF YOU HAVE HEP C, IT CAN BE CURED

Get helpful Hep C information and email reminders to ask for the test.

WHY BOOMERS?

No one is 100% sure why Baby Boomers (born 1945–1965) are at higher risk. Since the Hep C virus was only discovered in 1989, it’s likely that most Boomers were infected before that time and may only be showing symptoms now. In fact, donated blood was not screened for Hep C until 1992. According to the CDC, many Baby Boomers were infected in the 70’s and 80’s when infection control standards were not what they are today.

HOW PEOPLE GET HEP C

Hep C is a virus that can be transmitted by very small amounts of blood, not visible to the naked eye. It can live outside the body for up to 3 weeks, so even a small amount of contaminated blood that goes unnoticed can cause an infection. There are many ways people can get Hep C. Here are a few common examples:

  • Some may have been infected with Hep C from unsterilized tools at tattoo parlors or less frequently, by sharing personal items that have infected blood, like shaving razors or toothbrushes.
  • Some people got Hep C through past recreational drug use, like sharing cocaine straws or intravenous needles, even if just once.
  • Some got infected from blood transfusions, organ donations, or blood products before 1992.

HEP C CAN BE CURED

If you do have Hep C, it can be cured. Recent scientific advances have made today’s treatments for Hep C shorter and more effective, with average cure rates around 95% and an average length of treatment of 12 weeks. These advances have made a real difference—it’s estimated that in the past few years, more people have been treated and cured of Hep C than in the previous decade.

The goal of Hep C treatment is to be cured. You are considered cured when a lab test done 3 months after you’ve completed treatment does not find any Hep C virus in your blood.

ASK FOR THE HEP C TEST BY NAME

Hep C testing is not currently part of routine blood work, so you have to ask for it specifically. All it takes is a simple blood test, and most private health insurance plans cover one-time Hep C testing for Baby Boomers. Medicaid and most Medicare programs cover it, too.

For us, it’s time to get tested. If you know someone born 1945–1965, it’s time to get the word out. Share this essential information with friends and loved ones.

Download a reminder now, and ask for the test the next time you’re at the doctor’s office.