July 31 Is Hepatitis C Testing Day in DC

The virus is a silent killer of Washingtonians.

By: Melissa Romero

Washingtonians are extremely misinformed when it comes to hepatitis C, according to results from a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Genentech, found that 62 percent of baby boomers in DC have never been tested for the virus, despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and United States Preventive Services Task Force recommend all boomers born from 1945 to 1965 get screened. In addition, 40 percent of those surveyed said they would rather admit to a DUI than to being infected with HCV.

The results come just as Mayor Vincent Gray declared July 31 Hepatitis C Testing Day in DC.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) targets the liver and is responsible for 150,000 to 250,000 new cases of hepatitis each year. Its symptoms include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, dark urine, and jaundice. If left untreated, it can potentially lead to liver cancer and death. It’s transmitted through transfusion of blood that’s been contaminated with the virus, or by sharing needles among infected intravenous drug users.

To get tested, ask your doctor, nurse, or health-care provider for a hepatitis C blood test.

Infographic courtesy of Genentech.