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Hepatitis Testing Day
May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day in the United States.
There are approximately 3.5–5.3 million Americans living with chronic viral hepatitis, but most of them do not know that they are infected since it may take decades for the virus to cause liver damage severe enough to cause symptoms. Unaware of their infection, they are at risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and can spread the virus.
There are several groups at increased risk for viral hepatitis and they include Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, people living with HIV, persons who inject drugs, gay and bisexual men, immigrants and refugees from parts of the world where hepatitis B is endemic, and homeless individuals and families.
Take an Online Hepatitis Risk Assessment
A confidential online Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool developed by the CDC allows you to determine your risk for hepatitis B and hepatitis C by answering questions privately, at home or even from a mobile device. If you take the assessment, you can then print the tailored recommendations based on the most up-to-date guidelines, and discuss viral hepatitis testing and vaccination (for hepatitis A and hepatitis B) with a medical provider.
Untreated chronic viral hepatitis represents the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. In addition, it is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of 12,000-18,000 Americans each year.
To see what the national action plan to combat hepatitis is all about, click here.