Hepatitis C is caused by a virus, most commonly spread by contact with infected blood , although sexual transmission in MSM especially those co infected with HIV, is becoming common. It causes inflammation if the liver and can lead to liver failure, cancer and death.
Statistics show that nearly 15000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die every year due to a Hepatitis C related illness. The reasons why it is so prevalent in this subgroup is unclear, but it is likely that they were infected by blood transfusions , before screening for the virus was introduced in 1992. Others were infected from injecting drugs, even just on one occasion.
Most people with hepatitis C have no symptoms initially and can live for decades without knowing they have the disease.
Known risk factors include:
Blood transfusion before 1992
Healthcare needle stick injuries
Children born to mothers with Hep C
Past use if injected drugs
The only way to know if you have it is by getting tested and early detection saves lives