While HIV-related deaths have decreased significantly thanks to increased awareness and safe sex education, another disease is silently taking 15,000 American lives a year. Hepatitis C is now killing more people than HIV, but the problem is that victims of this disease rarely see it coming.
Three quarters of the people who died from Hepatitis C in 2007 were between the ages of 45 and 64. An infection can go unnoticed for years and can cause serious damage before patients decided to seek treatment, as the CDC explained:
“Hepatitis C virus infection is often asymptomatic or causes nonspecific symptoms (depression, arthralgia and fatigue) for decades."
That means there is another problem too. People who are infected, but don't know they are infected, could unknowingly be spreading it to others through exposure to blood or sexual contact.
The CDC estimates that those born between 1945 and 1964 are at the highest risk for infection. Unless more baby boomers who may have become infected in their younger days get checked out, experts fear "deaths from HCV are forecasted to increase to 35,000 annually by 2030.”
Scary! Remember, it's never a bad idea to get yourself screened for any and all diseases!
[Image via WENN.]