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Hepatitis C Disparities among African Americans

Summary: 
Black History Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of chronic hepatitis C infection in the African-American community.

During Black History Month, we honor the achievements of African Americans in the United States and discuss public health issues that disproportionately impact the African-American community, including chronic hepatitis C infection.

Chronic Hepatitis C among African Americans

Infection with chronic hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver disease, liver cancer, and liver-related death in the United States. African Americans have higher rates of infection and hepatitis C-related death compared with the overall population. For example:

Chronic hepatitis C infection can now be cured in over 90% of individuals, including among African Americans, for whom previously available treatments were associated with relatively low cure rates compared with Caucasians. Furthermore, expert guidelines recommend treatment for nearly all persons.

Who is at Risk?

The first step to achieving a hepatitis C cure is to find out who is at risk and then get tested. This 5-minute online CDC Hepatitis Risk Assessment is a useful tool to use and to share with friends and family.

Who Should Be Tested?

  • All people in the baby boomer generation (born between 1945-1965) should be screened for HCV at least once.
  • In addition, people with recent or ongoing risks for HCV infection should also be tested. This includes:
    • Persons who have ever injected drugs, including those who injected only once many years ago,
    • Recipients of blood transfusions before 1992, including for sickle-cell anemia,
    • Recipients of solid organ transplants before 1992,
    • Patients who have ever received long0term hemodialysis treatment,
    • Click here for a full list of who should be tested for HCV infection.

Resources to Raise Awareness

The tools below can also help in awareness efforts and highlight key issues related to hepatitis C infection among African Americans.

The National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan 2017-2020 includes a focus on African Americans as one of the priority populations impacted by viral hepatitis. One of our national goals is to reduce health disparities in viral hepatitis, including reducing deaths among African Americans related to viral hepatitis infection. Only by working together and in the communities most impacted by viral hepatitis can we achieve this goal and improve the health and lives of people across the nation.
 

African Americans have higher rates of #HepC. Learn how to raise awareness & reduce disparities: https://go.usa.gov/x9hwG

 

Posted In: 
Prevention and Wellness
Public Health and Safety
Tagged: Hepatitis C