Liver Disease Information
In Your Area
American Liver Foundation
39 Broadway, Suite 2700
New York, New York 10006
>>The American Liver Foundation joins the World Hepatitis Alliance on July 28th as part of World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of the serious implications of hepatitis B and C.
The theme of the day, “Know It, Confront It and Get Tested” speaks to the need to increase knowledge of hepatitis, to remove the stigma of the disease, and take down barriers from seeking treatment. It is estimated there are 12 million people in the world with hepatitis.
Hepatitis C is often called the silent killer as there may be no symptoms for 20-30 years after the person is infected. The disease is transmitted when infected blood enters the body. The most common ways of infection are sharing needles with IV drug use or having received infected blood in a blood transfusion prior to 1992.
Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s issued draft guidelines recommending a one-time hepatitis C test for everyone born from 1945 to 1965 (the baby boomer generation). One in thirty people in this generation has been infected with hepatitis C and the overwhelming majority don’t know it. Left untreated, hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases, including liver cancer, the fastest rising cause of cancer-related deaths, and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.
Hepatitis B virus is highly infectious and about 50-100 times more infectious than HIV. In nine out of ten adults, acute hepatitis B infection will go away on its own in the first six months. However, if the virus becomes chronic, it may cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer after up to 40 years, but in some cases as little as five years after diagnosis.
The hepatitis B virus is transmitted between people through contact with the blood or other body fluids (i.e. saliva, semen and vaginal fluid) of an infected person. Unlike hepatitis C, there is a vaccine that can prevent hepatitis B infection.
The Difference Between Hepatitis B and C