May 14th is Mother’s Day this year and the start of National Women’s Health Week
. As we observe these days, as well as Hepatitis Awareness Month throughout May
, we have a special opportunity to focus on the important women in our lives. We love them, we need them in our lives, and we want them to be happy and healthy. Sometimes, however, they take care of everyone else before they take care of themselves. We can help them be healthy by making sure that they have taken the time to protect their health by getting their blood pressure checked, scheduling their annual well woman visit ( for women under 65), and making sure they have been tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 4 million people in the United States are living with hepatitis B virus (HBV) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but because HBV and HCV often cause no symptoms, most don’t know they are infected. That means there are about 2 million people in the United States who have HBV or HCV and don’t know it. These viruses can cause serious health problems including liver disease, liver cancer, and death. In 2014, over 6,000 women died from HBV or HCV related causes. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are treatments that can effectively suppress HBV and cure HCV in more than 9 out of 10 people who take them. So it is more important than ever to test people at risk and link them to care.
Why Should My Mom Be Tested?
All women who were born between 1945 and 1965 should be tested even if they do not have any other risk factors. Unlike the present, some people who are part of the baby boomer generation may have been exposed to HCV when they had a medical procedure during a doctor’s visit before universal precautions and infection control procedures were in place. There are a number of other reasons women should get tested. For example, all pregnant women should get tested for hepatitis B and C.
As we honor our mothers and the other important women in our lives this year on Mother’s Day, we encourage you to talk to your mom and ask if she has been tested for hepatitis B and C. If she has not been tested, encourage her to use the CDC’s online hepatitis risk assessment
to see if testing is recommended for her. If testing is recommended, mom can share this information with her doctor and ask for a hepatitis test at her next checkup, or she can use this tool
to find a testing site nearby.
More than half women with a viral hepatitis infection do not know they have it, even if the virus is already damaging their livers. You can help keep Mom and the other important women in your life healthy and maybe even save them from the complications of liver disease by getting them to assess their risk and get tested if it is recommended. Treatment for hepatitis B and C works, and more than 90% of people with hepatitis C virus can be cured in just 12 – 24 weeks of treatment. Spending a few minutes talking with your mom about viral hepatitis will let her know that you care about her and want her to be as healthy as she can possibly be. Who knows? It could make a difference that lasts a lifetime.
In honor of Mother’s Day, get #HepAware and ask your mom to get tested for #Hepatitis. Read the blog: https://go.usa.gov/xN4kK