US NEWS HEALTH
By Ruben Castaneda, Staff Writer March 14, 2019, at 1:43 p.m.
WHILE MOST OF THE estimated 3.5 million people in the U.S. infected with hepatitis C are baby boomers, the virus is spreading at a greater rate among young people, according for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, the highest rate of new hepatitis C infections is among people between ages 20 and 29, according to a 2017 CDC press statement. Increasing IV drug use propelled by the opioid epidemic is the primary factor fueling this increase among young people, according to the CDC; sharing infected needles is a key mode of transmission. Research suggests the rate of hepatitis C infections is also rising among women of child-bearing age. Hepatitis C is associated with cirrhosis, which is potentially fatal, so it's important to get screened and treated.
If you should be diagnosed with hepatitis C, whatever your age, here are steps you should take:
- Don't panic.
- Don't obsess about when and how you were infected.
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Talk about it.