On May 19, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the first ever National Hepatitis Testing Day, to publicize the need for all baby boomers to get a one-time blood test for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
One in 30 people born between 1945 and 1965 has been infected with hepatitis C. Most of these people are unaware that they even have the virus.
“Because there are often no symptoms, a person can silently carry the virus for years,” says Dr. Aristotle Damianos, of Gastroenterology Professional Association in Portsmouth, NH. “While the majority of people with hepatitis C will never get significant liver disease, about 30% will develop permanent scarring or cirrhosis of the liver, and a small fraction may go on to develop liver cancer. New drug therapies have made cure possible now for most infected patients.”
HCV is a spread through direct contact with infected blood. Common risk factors include blood transfusion prior to 1992, body piercings or tattoos, and intravenous or intranasal illicit drug use. Household transmission is extremely rare. Exposure to the virus can be detected with a blood test.
Talk to your doctor about whether you should consider having this simple blood test. The physicians of Gastroenterology Professional Association have been treating and curing patients with HCV for over 25 years. New patients are being accepted at our Portsmouth, Somersworth, and Hampton, NH offices.