Should you be tested for hepatitis? May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day in the United States. Millions of Americans have chronic viral hepatitis and most of them do not know they are infected. Hepatitis Testing Day is an opportunity to remind primary care providers and the public who should be tested for viral hepatitis.
The Alabama Department of Public Health encourages awareness of the following facts about viral hepatitis:
- Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are all different diseases.
Each type of hepatitis is caused by a different virus and spread in different ways. Hepatitis A is spread through person-to-person contact and does not cause long-term infection, although it can make people very sick. In 2017, several states (California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Utah and West Virginia) were affected by a hepatitis A outbreak that occurred primarily among persons who were homeless, persons who used injection and non-injection drugs, and their close direct contacts. Hepatitis B is usually spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis C is most often spread when blood from a person who has hepatitis C enters the body of someone who is not infected.
- Chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer.
Hepatitis B and C can become chronic, cause serious damage to the liver, lead to cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. More than 60 percent of liver cancer cases are related to hepatitis B or C.
- Most people with chronic hepatitis do not show immediate signs of infection.
More than four million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis in the United States, but most do not know they are infected. Many people live with chronic hepatitis for decades without symptoms or feeling sick.
- Getting tested could save your life.
Lifesaving treatments are available for chronic hepatitis B and new treatments are available that can cure hepatitis C. Getting tested is the only way to know if you are infected. If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B or C in the past, ask your family physician or primary care provider about getting tested.
Below is another way to find out if you should be tested, click on the following link and take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hepatitis Risk Assessment, cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessment/index.htm.
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ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
RSA Tower 201 Monroe Street, Suite 910, Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (334) 206-5300 | Fax: (334) 206-5520