Hand writing Hepatitis with blue marker on transparent wipe board.

According to new surveillance data from the CDC, almost 20,000 deaths in 2014 were associated with hepatitis C and an increasing number of Americans are developing and dying from liver cancer, which can be caused by hepatitis. A second recently published CDC study shows that hepatitis C related deaths in 2013 surpassed the total combined number of deaths from 60 other infectious diseases, including HIV, pneumococcal disease, and tuberculosis. These findings show the importance of being tested for hepatitis C.

Most people who are infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C are unaware that they are infected. Did you know that CDC recommends baby boomers (people born from 1945-1965) get tested for hepatitis C? And that those born in Asia or the Pacific Islands or whose parents were born there get tested for hepatitis B? Talk to your doctor to find out if you should get tested or take the CDC hepatitis risk assessment. May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are three main viruses that cause viral hepatitis in the U.S.: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis caused by hepatitis B or C are the leading causes of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation. More than four million Americans are living with viral hepatitis. The good news is that hepatitis A and B can both be prevented by a vaccine. While there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, new anti-viral treatments show promising results to cure the disease. For more hepatitis resources and services in Arizona, visit the new Arizona hepatitis C resource directory and ADHS’ hepatitis website.