Hep C Awareness Month 2021
The month of May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States. During May, CDC and our public health partners work to raise awareness of this epidemic by encouraging priority populations to get tested.
Hep C Awareness Month includes Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19th, an important opportunity to raise widespread awareness of viral hepatitis and its impact. HealthCore Clinic helps expand national efforts to improve the health of the estimated 2.4 million people living with hepatitis C ( and the 862,000 people living with Hepatitis B)
During Hepatitis C Awareness Month, we encourage all adults to get tested for hepatitis C. The goal is to ultimately reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with hep C by increasing testing so those who are infected get access to life-saving care and treatment. Treatment is available that can cure hepatitis C for most people.
What Is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. Most people who get infected with hep C will develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver disease, liver failure, and even liver cancer. Hepatitis C Awareness Month is a great time to schedule a hep c screening.
Hep C Causes
Hepatitis C is typically spread when a person comes into contact with blood from an infected person. In the past, hep C was most commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. However, widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1990 and the hepatitis C virus was virtually eliminated by 1992.
Today, most people become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles, syringes, or any other equipment to inject drugs. New infection rates have been on the rise, particularly among young adults, which coincides with the recent increase in injection drug use related to the opioid crisis we are facing in the United States. While less common, hepatitis C can also spread through select health care exposures, sex with an infected person, birth to an infected mother, as well as tattoos and body piercings from unlicensed facilities or informal settings.
Hepatitis C Symptoms
People with hepatitis C often have no symptoms. This is why testing is so extremely important, it is the only way to know if you are infected. CDC now recommends all adults and pregnant women get tested for hep C, in addition to anyone with ongoing risk and certain medical conditions.
Treatments are available that can cure hepatitis C. Once diagnosed, most people with hepatitis C can be cured in just 8 to 12 weeks, reducing liver cancer risk by 75%.
Hep C Testing and Treatment
Hep C Testing and Screening
A blood test, called an HCV antibody test, is used to find out if someone has ever been infected with the hepatitis C virus. The HCV antibody test is sometimes called the anti-HCV test. This screening looks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in the blood. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected. Test results can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back.
There are two results from a hepatitis C antibody test.
- A non-reactive or negative test result means that the person does not have the hepatitis C virus. The exception is if someone has come into contact with the virus recently, such as through contaminated blood. If this is the case, they will need to have another test.
- A reactive or positive test result means that the person has had the hepatitis C virus at some point but does not mean that they still have it. Further tests will be needed to check whether the virus is still active in the body and if treatment will be required.
Hep C Treatment
At HealthCore Clinic, we treat hepatitis C using our integrated approach. We combine Medical and Behavioral Health with your treatment to remove barriers and ensure each patient is able to complete the treatment successfully. We treat the hepatitis C infection with antiviral medications and regular check-ins with your healthcare team for 3 months on average. The goal of the treatment is to eliminate the hepatitis C virus from your body.
Our integrated approach to hepatitis C treatment includes:
- Free TransportationFree transportation to all medical, behavioral health, pharmacy, lab, and office visits related to the hepatitis C treatment at HealthCore Clinic are available.
- 24-hour AccessYou have 24-hour access to an on-call medical and behavioral health provider.
- On-site LabAny lab work required conducted on-site so you don’t have to visit multiple locations.
- On-site PharmacyYour antiviral medications will be provided by our staff so you don’t have to visit multiple locations.
- Medication RemindersOur staff can contact you daily with medication reminder calls to help ensure you take your antiviral medication on time.
Hep C Awareness FAQs and Statistics
- How Many People Have Hep C?Millions of Americans have hepatitis C. An estimated 2.4 million people are living with hepatitis C in the United States. Many people don’t know they are infected.
- Can Hepatitis C Lead to Liver Cancer?Wondering, “Can hep c cause cancer?” Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems. It is the #1 cause of liver transplants and a leading cause of liver cancer.
- Does Hepatitis C Have Symptoms?Most people with chronic hepatitis C will not have symptoms for 20 years or more. Even without symptoms, serious damage to your liver can occur.
- Is There a Cure for Hep C?Yes, treatments are available that can cure hepatitis C. Treatment can help prevent further liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.
- How Can I Help During Hepatitis Awareness Month?Share on social media about the importance of being tested for Hepatitis C.
- Use the hashtags #HepAware, #HepTestingDay, and #HepatitisAwarenessMonth to share information on viral hepatitis and Hepatitis Awareness Month.
- Follow @HHS_ViralHep on Twitter to learn about the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, federal hepatitis actions and resources.
- Follow @cdchep on Twitter to receive information from CDC about hepatitis resources, tools, publications, campaign updates, and events.
Acute Hepatitis C
Acute Hepatitis C in 2018
Rates of acute hepatitis C increased in 2018, particularly among those aged 20-39 years, consistent with age groups most impacted by the nation’s opioid crisis.
Groups Most Affected by Acute Hepatitis C in 2018
- 20-29 years: 3.1 cases per 100,000 people
- 30-39 years: 2.6 cases per 100,000 people
- 40-49 years: 1.3 cases per 100,000 people
- Males: 1.3 cases per 100,000 people
By Race/ Ethnicity
- American Indian/Alaska Native: 3.6 cases per 100,000 people
- Injection Drug Use (IDU): Among the 1,535 reported cases with IDU information available, 1,102 (72%) report IDU.