World Hepatitis Day

Originally launched in 2008, World Hepatitis Day provides “international focus for patient groups and people living with hepatitis B and C. It is an opportunity around which interested groups can raise awareness and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.”  This year World Hepatitis Day is Sunday July 28th.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver which is most commonly caused by viral infection.  It is estimated that each year 1 million people die due to complications associated with Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV).  Currently, 500 million people worldwide are infected with chronic HBV or HCV and 1/3 of the population has been exposed to one or both viruses.

Intravenous drug use and high risk sexual behavior are major risk factors for contracting HBV and HCV.  In the US, 3.9 million American have been infected with HCV, with the highest number of new infections occurring among young adults ages 20-39.

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