May is Hepatitis Awareness Month

New York State recognizes May as Hepatitis Awareness Month, including May 19th as National Hepatitis Testing Day and May 25th as Hepatitis C Cure Day. This is an occasion to celebrate those who have been cured for hepatitis C, improve everyone’s understanding about viral hepatitis transmission, and help reduce social stigma that perpetuates the epidemic.

Hepatitis affects the liver and can cause serious health problems, including liver damage and liver cancer. Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common types of hepatitis. Safe and effective vaccines are available to help prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Although no vaccine is available for hepatitis C, treatment is available that is easy to take and can cure most people in as little as eight weeks.

Since 2020, New York State saw a 3% increase in newly reported cases of hepatitis C. Hepatitis C transmission has been exacerbated by the opioid epidemic in the State. In 2021, most newly reported hepatitis C cases under the age of 40 indicated drug use as their primary risk for hepatitis C.

While curative treatment for hepatitis C is available, large gaps in testing and treatment persist. Of the estimated 116,000 people living with hepatitis C in New York State, half are unaware of their infection and therefore do no benefit from available curative treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that every adult get tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime and pregnant people during each pregnancy.

The New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Plan outlines a set of recommendations to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030 in the New York State by addressing the inequities that sustain the hepatitis C epidemic. 

Help New York State eliminate hepatitis C.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.