Over 5 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C, serious and often fatal liver diseases. Most don’t know they are infected, leaving them at great risk for advanced liver disease and other serious health complications.

Most at risk

Asian and Pacific Islander Americans make up 50 percent of hepatitis B cases in the United States. People born from 1945 through 1965, baby boomers, are five-times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults. Hepatitis C also disproportionately impacts many other communities, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, veterans and people who inject drugs.

"There is treatment available to manage hepatitis B and there are now highly effective medications that cure hepatitis C in most people."

Hepatitis B and C are also the leading causes of liver cancer in the United States. Liver cancer is highly lethal and one of the few cancers on the rise in the country. Because the survival rate for liver cancer is grim, it is vital that those at risk for hepatitis B or C be identified early and once the diagnosis of viral hepatitis is made, stop disease progression with linkage to care and treatment.

Once positive

The best way to know if you are at risk of liver cancer is to talk with your doctor about being screened for hepatitis B or hepatitis C. If you test positive for either disease, there are many steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing advanced liver disease, needing a liver transplant and being at risk for liver cancer.

There is treatment available to manage hepatitis B and there are now highly effective medications that cure hepatitis C in most people. If you test positive for hepatitis B or C, your doctor should also make sure you are aware of your risk for liver cancer and if at high risk, screened appropriately. If you test negative for hepatitis B or C, you can talk with your doctor about steps to avoid infection in the future.