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JoAnn Thompson
Executive Director


American Liver Foundation
127 Washington Avenue
North Haven, CT 06473
203-234-2022 Tel
203-234-1386 Fax


American Liver Foundation
39 Broadway, Suite 2700
New York, New York 10006
212-668-1000 Tel
212-483-8179 Fax

New Testing Recommendations for Hepatitis C

Viral hepatitis is currently affecting more than 4 million people in the United States. Every year, approximately 15,000 Americand die from hepatitis C-related conditions. Viral hepatitis, left undiagnosed and untreated, is the leading cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis. Hepatitis C is also among the leading causes for liver failure and liver transplant.

Despite these statistics, most people know very little about viral hepatitis. People get hepatitis C through contaminated blood. This can occur through sharing needles or accidental needle sticks among medical professionals, intranasal drug use, and unsafe tattooing and body piercing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis C is called a "silent epidemic" because it often has no noticeable symptoms for many years-event decades.

The American Liver Foundation urges people to be aware of the risk factors for viral hepatitis exposure. Additionally, the CDC are proposing to expand hepatitis C testing guidelines because of the rising death rate from this disease. It is estimated that the new testing recommendations could indentify as many as 800,000 people with the virus. Those identified could then seek treatment, which can be effective in clearing the virus in up to 75% of those infected.

The CDC recommends testing for the following individuals:

  • "Baby Boomers" (people born between 1945 and 1965)
  • Anyone who has ever injected illegal drugs-even once
  • Anyone who has received blood transfusions or solid organ transplants prior to 1992
  • Anyone who received clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
  • People who have ever received long-term hemodialysis for kidney failure
  • Health care workers after needle sticks
  • People living with HIV
  • People with lab results showing abnormal liver enzyme tests
  • Anyone who was born to a mother with hepatitis C

The American Liver Foundation urges anyone with increased risk factors to be tested for hepatitis C. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner people can take steps to investigate treatment options and preserve liver health.

In addition to information available on www.liverfoundation.org, you can learn more about viral hepatitis at www.cdc.gov. You can also find out more about World Hepatitis Day-July 28, 2012 by going to www.worldhepatitisalliance.org. You can slo contact the American Liver Foundation's Helpline at 1-800-GO-LIVER for more information about viral hepatitis or other liver health questions.

Page updated: July 3rd, 2012