Things to know about hepatitis C on National African-American Hepatitis C Action Day

July 25, 2017

By Gabrelle Taylor

Today is National African-American Hepatitis C Action Day (NAAHCAD). Hepatitis C is a serious virus that can lead to liver cancer if left untreated. Unfortunately, African-American communities are especially vulnerable to hepatitis C infections and its associated diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 3.5 million people are currently living with hepatitis C in the U.S. Help the Think About the Link® campaign raise awareness and educate African-American communities about hepatitis C and its link to liver cancer. Share these quick facts about hepatitis C to your friends and family so you can Stop Cancer Before it Starts!®

  • Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can cause liver cancer. The hepatitis C virus is an infection that attacks the liver. Once you are infected, it can cause liver cirrhosis (or scarring) and/or liver cancer. The most common way to transmit hepatitis C is by sharing needles or other equipment used for injecting recreational drugs.
  • Hepatitis C hides in your body―and most people don’t know they have it. 70 – 80 percent of people infected with hepatitis C do not experience signs or symptoms. It can take many years, even decades, for hepatitis C to cause enough damage to the liver for you to feel sick. Getting tested for hepatitis C is the best way to know if you have been exposed to the virus.
  • African-Americans are disproportionately affected by hepatitis C. Despite the fact that African-Americans comprise only 11 percent of the U.S population, they account for at least 22 percent of the 3.5 million Americans living with chronic hepatitis C. African-Americans have significantly higher rates of new hepatitis C infections and hepatitis C-related deaths than other racial/ethnic groups.
  • YOU CAN TAKE ACTION AGAINST HEPATITIS C! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers an online risk-assessment for those concerned about hepatitis C infection. If you are at high risk for hepatitis C, visit your local health department or health care provider to get tested for the virus. Although there is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C, there are curative treatment options for those who are infected. Help spread the word in your community today!

 

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