Penn Medicine News Blog

May 20, 2015 // By Paul Foster // Comments

Identifying Hepatitis C Early, Getting Ahead of a ‘Silent Killer’

Gastrointestinal // Infectious Disease

Of the nearly 3.5 million Americans infected with hepatitis C, less than 50 percent were diagnosed and knew of the infection and just 43 percent of those with the disease had access to outpatient care, according to a 2014 study by Penn researchers. Less than 10 percent of the total infected population are ever cured (achieved viral suppression) of the disease.

As May has been marked as Hepatitis Awareness Month, it’s as good a time as any to take a look at the disease, the importance of being tested and notable advances which make hepatitis C as manageable as it’s ever been.  Poster-YearsBorn

A challenge in managing the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the fact that the disease doesn’t show any symptoms in about 60 to 70 percent of those infected. That means many Americans are unaware they have the disease until dangerous complications (like cirrhosis of the liver or cancer) arise. The primary way to combat that is through preventative screenings. 

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