Hepatitis C: Still a major risk for baby boomers

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New cases of hepatitis C — a viral infection that attacks the liver — are at a 15-year high, according to surveillance data from the CDC released online May 11, 2017. The CDC estimates that there were about 34,000 new cases in 2015. Young adults (ages 20 to 29) account for most of the new infections, and the CDC attributes this to needle use from opioid addiction. But baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) make up three-quarters of the 3.5 million people living with hepatitis C in the United States. Baby boomers are also the ones dying most often from the virus. New medicines can cure hepatitis C infections in as little as two to three months.

The CDC urges you to get a screening test for the virus if you were born between 1945 and 1965. Anyone who has used illicit intravenous drugs, had more than one sex partner, or who had a blood transfusion before 1992 also should get the test.