Why are baby boomers more inclined to be infected with hep C?
First, let us understand what a baby boomer is.
Baby boomers are individuals that were born between 1945 to 1965, give or take a few years.
Why do baby boomers have hep C?
In early to mid 1900’s in the US, hygiene and blood borne infections were not well understood.
Doctors’ often performed surgeries with unwashed hands.
During the South Korean war many doctors would operate on multiple patients without gloves or hand washing.
Essentially moving infection from one patient to another unknowingly.
The most probable reason for why baby boomers have hep C is due to lack of testing in the blood supply.
Hep C transmission was rampant during this period.
Proven and effective methods of testing the blood supply was was non existent.
Only in June 1992 was the national blood supply tested to be virus free.
Contamination by blood was common and sterilization practices of medical instruments were sub par, according to a Harvard publication.
Hepatitis C made leaps and bounds in America during this dark age of medical and clinical science.
What percentage of baby boomers have hep C?
According to Piedmont.org, one in 30 baby boomers have hepatitis C.
The rate of infection is about 3.3% to 5% amongst baby boomers.
As of today, almost 75% of all chronic hepatitis C is from baby boomers.
This is the reason the US government has created a task force to request people of ages 18 to 79 get tested for hep C.
Preventative measures and screening can have a real impact on bringing down the rates of HCV infections.
Its all up to us to take the necessary steps, get screened and if need be get cured.
Is there FREE hep C screening?
The US state legislature has set up hepatitis C screening centers in every state.
This allows easy access for baby boomers to get screened for HCV.
States like Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee have a higher per capita of hep C infections.
There is not enough data to conclude why some states have a higher rate of hep C than others.
Good news is baby boomers in high risk states have a higher rate of screening compared to others.
This can drastically reduce hep C transmission through prevention education and hepatitis C treatment.
10 to 20 years from now, hepatitis C infection rates will reduced significantly.
Hepatitis C may become a thing of the past in the coming years.
Free Hepatitis C Screening Centers for Baby Boomers
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers a searchable website where you can get tested for hepatitis C for free or low cost.
Here is the link below for the Get Tested for hepatitis C campaign from the CDC.
Is there a hepatitis C vaccine?
As of right now there are no vaccines for hepatitis C.
If there was a hep C vaccine, that would be a boon to mankind.
A hep C vaccine can only protect you before you are infected with the hepatitis C virus.
For baby boomers already infected with hep C, it would be of no use.
Current and future generations can really benefit in a big way.
A recent study from the CDC, states that almost 36% of new chronic hepatitis C infections are from millenials.
Millenials (generation Z) are adults that are in the 20s and 30s today.
As a nation we must do everything we can to keep hepatitis C in check.
It has destroyed more lives and cost the US economy more than HIV.
Baby Boomers Hep C
If it wasn’t for a contaminated blood supply prior to 1992, baby boomers would be in the clear.
American medical science has come a long way since the mid 20th century.
The days of not being cured for hepatitis C are long gone.
Since 2014, millions of people with HCV have been cured.
The advent of sofosbuvir (2007), the main ingredient in Sovaldi, Harvoni and Epclusa has saved many lives around the world.
Same goes for now.
Baby boomers have a real fighting chance to win the battle against hepatitis C.
Its an amazing opportunity to treat a highly infectious disease with one pill a day for 84 days.
Please talk to your doctor or healthcare team about getting the right hepatitis C treatment.
You have a very high probability of being cured of hepatitis C.
Its time to let go.
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