New CDC Data: National Hepatitis Prevalence in the U.S. (2013-2016)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released new data estimating prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the United States from 2013‐2016. The data indicate that nearly 2.4 million adults, or 1 percent of the adult population, are living with HCV in the U.S. Hepatitis C is a curable viral infection, but if left untreated it can cause scarring of the liver, liver cancer, and death.

Key Takeaways

  • Hepatitis C remains an urgent national problem that now threatens multiple generations of Americans: baby boomers (born 1945-1965), adults under 40 (primarily as a result of the opioid epidemic), and infants born to mothers with HCV.
  • Treatments that cure hepatitis C could help eliminate it, but the United States is not yet maximizing their potential as many people still don’t know they are infected and many who are aware cannot access medication.
  • The opioid crisis is sabotaging our ability to reduce this burden, as there is a growing wave of hepatitis C and other infections looming in the shadow of our nation’s opioid crisis.

Winning the fight against hepatitis C will take a substantial and focused national effort to reach those already living with – and those at risk for – hepatitis C infection. Diagnosing and treating people living with hepatitis C is key to preventing deaths and stopping new infections. In order to end HCV, it’s critical that we: expand testing to each Americans of all ages who are at risk; remove treatment barriers to those already living with HCV; intensify prevention services to stop new infections; and improve surveillance that can identify and interrupt transmission.

View the full report to learn more.

About Kim Rodgers

Kim Rodgers serves as a Communications Specialist at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices, as well as partner tools and resources, in infectious disease and preparedness through NACCHO's communications channels, storytelling, and outreach to various audiences.

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