The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is once again spearheading a number of national campaigns focused on promoting testing and advocacy around hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), in honor of Hepatitis Awareness Month, which takes place in the United States every May. Today, it’s estimated that more than 4 million Americans are living with chronic liver disease, and up to 75 percent still do not know they are infected.
As part of the month-long program, the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis will work with health centers across the country to encourage baby boomers, those individuals born between 1945 and 1965, to get tested for hepatitis C under its national “Know More Hepatitis” campaign. The division is also coordinating with healthcare partners across the Asian-American community to help promote hepatitis B testing through its multilingual “Know Hepatitis B” campaign. Additionally, May 19 will mark national "Hepatitis Testing Day" in the U.S.
The campaigns seek to promote action by healthcare providers and their patients to help reverse the viral hepatitis epidemics across the United States. According to the CDC’s official Hepatitis Awareness Month site, there are between 2.7 and 3.9 million people currently living with chronic hepatitis C in the United States. In addition, between 700,000 and 1.4 million people are currently living with hepatitis B. Combined, the viral liver diseases contribute to more than 21,000 American deaths every year, making hepatitis the biggest killer among all infectious diseases in this country.
To become involved with Hepatitis Awareness Month initiatives, follow @cdchep on Twitter or search the hashtags #HepAware, #HepTestingDay and #hepatitis on social media. The CDC’s website also features a variety of hepatitis resources, tools, publications, campaign updates and an event calendar to keep advocates involved in the action.