Twenty years ago, when I was a naive and hopeful new health activist, I thought that a cure for hepatitis C would drive down the number of cases. The opioid epidemic derailed my hope. In a recent press release, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the number of new reported hepatitis C infections has nearly tripled in the past five years. This means hepatitis C infections have reached a 15-year high.
According to the CDC, “Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease reported to CDC. “…nearly 20,000 Americans died from hepatitis C-related causes in 2015, and the majority of deaths were people age 55 and older."
Hepatitis Testing Day is May 19. Although Hepatitis Awareness Month is officially observed every day in May, Hepatitis Testing Day helps to anchor this awareness. By focusing on screening those at risk for viral hepatitis, we can identify those who might otherwise fall through health care cracks.
We can reverse this trend. Please get involved, spread the word, and make a difference.