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Home News National Hepatitis Awareness Month Promotion
Kenny Vigil
505-841-5871 Office
505-470-2290 Mobile

National Hepatitis Awareness Month Promotion

Hepatitis C virus infection is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States.The Department urges those at risk to get tested for Hepatitis C.

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month. During 2014 in the United States, deaths associated with Hepatitis C reached an all-time high of 19,659 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In New Mexico, there are between 30,000 and 45,000 people living with chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection.

Many people living with HCV infection are not aware they are infected. People often learn of their disease when symptoms occur 10 to 30 years after the initial infection.  Up to 20 percent of lifelong HCV infections will proceed to cirrhosis. Each year, chronic liver disease is in the top ten leading causes of death in New Mexico. Fortunately, there are new medications to treat HCV infection and between 80-95 percent of people who complete treatment can be cured. These new medications are not associated with the side effects that were seen with previous HCV treatment medications.

“We now have safe medications that can cure Hepatitis C infection. It is important to know if you are infected. You can get your test results in a few days after a simple blood test,” said Department of Health Secretary Designate Lynn Gallagher.  “The CDC recommends all Baby Boomers, people born between 1945 through 1965, get tested for HCV infection regardless of reported risk factors.”

In addition to Baby Boomers, HCV testing is recommended for:

  • Anyone who currently injects drugs and anyone who ever injected drugs (even once many years ago).
  • People with liver disease or abnormal liver tests.
  • People with HIV infection.
  • Children born to HCV-positive women.
  • Anyone who was ever on long-term hemodialysis or received transfusions or organ transplants.

For information on how to get tested, talk to your primary care provider or call your local public health office.

For more information, please visit the Hepatitis C Awareness page.

Media Contact

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Versión en Español

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