An estimated 4 million people in the United States have hepatitis C, but most people who have the virus may not know they have it because the disease shows almost no symptoms.
Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood and can lead to liver damage and even cancer in some patients, with more severe consequences for those who are overweight or drink alcohol.
In Bexar County, residents who are considered baby boomers – people born between 1945 and 1965 – have more than twice the rate of hepatitis C infection than the nation as a whole.
That’s why the latest recommendation calls for baby boomers to get tested. Even in a primary care setting, screening for the hepatitis C virus is not standard.
For anyone who tests positive, hepatitis C is highly treatable through pills with minimal side effects. Ongoing local research is targeting the virus' connection to liver cancer.
How are South Texans impacted by hepatitis C? What are the latest developments on a cure?
- Dr. Barbara Turner, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio
- Dr. Hope Hubbard, M.D., assistant professor of gastroenterology at UT Health San Antonio
- Brenda Westbrooks, a patient whose hepatitis C infection was found in screening and cured with oral therapy
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