Baby boomers are at greater risk of hepatitis C because they may have been exposed before measures were taken to protect medical equipment and the blood supply.
Baby boomers are five times more likely to have a hepatitis C infection, because they may have been exposed to the virus before precautions were taken with medical equipment and blood supply screening.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and can lead to severe liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and even liver cancer. It spreads through contact with blood from an infected person.
Half of the people with hepatitis C don’t know that they are infected. This is because they have no symptoms, which can take decades to show up.
Anyone can get hepatitis C, but 3 in 4 people with the virus were born from 1945 to 1965. Younger generations have benefited from universal precautions against the virus spreading and mandatory infection control procedures. The virus was eliminated from the blood supply by 1992 after widespread screening was adopted.
You have a higher risk of hepatitis C if you:
- Were born between 1945 and 1965
- Have ever injected or snorted drugs
- Have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Received a tattoo or piercing
- Were ever in prison
- Are a health care worker who has been exposed to infected blood or body fluids
- Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
- Received blood-clotting drugs before 1987
- Have been on dialysis for a long time
- Were born to a woman with hepatitis C
- Have had sex with someone with hepatitis C or with many partners
- Have symptoms of liver disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a one-time blood screening test for those who have an increased risk of infection. The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to be tested.
Symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, fever, jaundice and muscle aches.
Hepatitis C is curable as long as you find out and complete treatment. Get tested so you can have a longer, healthier life.