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May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

By on May 12, 2015

The month of May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States, and May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day.

During May, CDC and its public health partners work to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging priority populations to get tested.

Between 3.5 and 5.3 million Americans are living with chronic viral hepatitis, and most of them do not know that they are infected. Viral hepatitis is 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.

With the new advances in hepatitis C treatment, more widespread availability of safe and effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and more opportunities for testing for hepatitis C under the Affordable Care Act, we have arrived at a critical moment. By harnessing these and other developments, we have the potential to reduce the toll of viral hepatitis in the U.S. and save many lives.

Hepatitis in Correctional Facilities

Adults in correctional facilities are at risk for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection through sex with HBV-infected persons, injection drug use, and sharing close living quarters with other inmates infected with HBV.

Correctional settings also provide an opportunity to vaccinate at-risk adults who do not routinely access prevention services in the community. Vaccinating inmates in prisons has been demonstrated to be feasible and cost-saving.

This article content provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.