May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day. The goal of this awareness day is to raise public consciousness about viral hepatitis, especially Hepatitis A, B and C, and to encourage more people to be aware of their status. It is a day for people to get tested for viral hepatitis, and for health care providers to educate patients about their testing, treatment, vaccination, and care options.
Hepatitis C is a curable condition and hepatitis B is manageable, but people must first know their status. Unfortunately, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 66% of people with Hepatitis B and 40% of people with Hepatitis C are unaware of their infection, putting them at risk for serious and life-threatening health problems, including liver cancer. In the U.S., approximately 65% of liver cancer cases are related to Hepatitis B or C, with nearly 50% attributable to hepatitis C alone.
Some groups are at increased risk for chronic viral hepatitis infection. For example, in 2020, the rate of newly reported chronic Hepatitis B cases among Asian/Pacific Islander people (17.6 cases per 100,000 people) was almost 12 times the rate among non-Hispanic White persons (1.5 cases per 100,000 people).
Getting tested for viral hepatitis and knowing your status is critical to both individual health and the elimination of viral hepatitis throughout the U.S. CDC recommends testing for Hepatitis B and C and vaccination for Hepatitis A and B. These recommendations are:
- Hepatitis A: Vaccination for children at 1 year of age and persons at any age who are at increased risk.
- Hepatitis B: Testing for all adults 18 and older at least once in their lifetime, and for pregnant women during every pregnancy. The CDC also recommends vaccination for all children, all adults under age 60, and adults older than age 60 with risk factors for hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C: Testing for all adults 18 and older at least once in their lifetime, and for pregnant women during every pregnancy. The CDC also recommends testing for all people with risk factors and continued testing for those with ongoing risk.
Raising awareness about the importance of getting tested, getting vaccinated, and seeking treatment during Hepatitis Testing Day is critical to eliminating viral hepatitis in the U.S. and meeting the goals laid out in the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan.
To learn more about viral hepatitis testing, explore HepVu’s resources:
- Visualize the Hepatitis C epidemic stratified by age, sex, and race—as well as opioid indicators and viral hepatitis treatment restrictions—on HepVu’s interactive maps.
- View viral hepatitis statistics, charts, and demographic data on HepVu’s local data profiles.
- Find available viral hepatitis testing and care services near you with HepVu’s service locators.
- Read expert-led Q&As on the importance of viral hepatitis testing:
- Share our infographics in English and Spanish with your networks to raise awareness.