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Hepatitis C

Information for African Americans born from 1945 through 1965

A black familyFebruary is Black History Month.  This month is a time to commemorate the achievements by African Americans and also presents an opportunity to educate the public about serious health problems within the African American community, including Hepatitis C. 

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus.  The virus can make some people very sick, and over time can cause serious health problems, including liver damage and even liver cancer.  The good news is that new treatments are available that can offer a cure for many people.

An estimated 3.2 million persons are living with Hepatitis C in the United States and more than 75% of those infected are baby boomers, born from 1945 through 1965. Among people born in these years, rates of Hepatitis C are higher in African Americans.  In fact, African American boomers are twice as likely to have Hepatitis C as others born in these years. Getting tested [PDF - 2 pages] is the only way for people to learn if they are infected.

Many people with Hepatitis C do not have any symptoms and can live for decades without feeling sick.  The longer people live with untreated Hepatitis C, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease.

CDC continues to urge every baby boomer in America, regardless of race or ethnicity, to get tested for Hepatitis C.  If you weren’t born from 1945 to 1965, but wonder if you should be tested, take CDC’s online risk assessment.

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