Hepatitis C Challenge: Hep C Caring Ambassadors Program
HepC Choices

HCV Screening Tips

Outreach Staff and Volunteers: HCV Facts.

The Caring Ambassadors Program is providing this information to help you host a successful hepatitis C screening event.

The information is based on our experience hosting outdoor screening events. However, each event is different and you will need to customize your procedures according to the venue, length of the event, target audience, and other factors.

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Outreach Staff and Volunteers:
HCV Facts

It is helpful to provide fact sheets to your outreach staff and volunteers prior to the event, and to have hard copies available during the event.

  • Providing an extensive list of facts allows the outreach workers to pick facts that they are comfortable discussing.
  • Having hard copies available allows people to refresh their memories or ask questions. Following is an example of the type of facts CAP-Hepatitis C provides to outreach workers at screening events.

Hepatitis C Facts and Figures
for Outreach Staff

Hepatitis C Facts and Figures

  • An estimated 3 million to 5 million Americans have already been infected with the hepatitis C virus.
  • At least 1 in 50 Americans has been infected with the hepatitis C virus.
  • The number of Americans infected with the hepatitis C virus is 3 to 5 times the number infected with HIV.
  • 70% of HCV-infected persons in the U.S. are age 35 to 54 years.
  • Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne chronic viral illness in the U.S.
  • At least 170 million people worldwide are infected with the hepatitis C virus.
  • An estimated 3 million new cases of hepatitis C occur globally each year.
  • An estimated 30,000 new cases of hepatitis C occur each year in the U.S.
  • Approximately 75% of people exposed to the hepatitis C virus become chronically infected.
  • Most people with chronic hepatitis C are unaware that they are infected because HCV is often asymptomatic until advanced liver damage develops.
  • There is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C (unlike hepatitis A and B).
  • Hepatitis C is the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the U.S.
  • Chronic liver disease is among the top 10 killers of Americans age 25 and older, and HCV is the underlying cause of 40% to 60% of such disease.
  • Chronic liver disease is the 4th most common cause of death in people age 45 to 54 years, and 7th among those 35 to 44 years and 55 to 64 years.
  • Approximately 20% to 30 % of people with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis.
  • Each year, 1% to 4% of people with HCV-related cirrhosis develop liver cancer.
  • The incidence of liver cancer in the U.S. more than doubled between 1975 and 1998. The number of new cases of liver cancer and the associated number of liver cancer deaths are expected to double again in the United States over the next 10 to 20 years.
  • Hepatitis C is the leading cause of adult liver transplantation in the U.S.
  • Since 1990, the number of people with HCV who underwent liver transplantation increased over twelve-fold.
  • An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people die each year in the U.S. of hepatitis C disease.
  • The number of hepatitis C deaths each year in the U.S. is greater than the number of deaths caused by melanoma, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, thyroid cancer, or Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Approximately 25 to 30% of Americans with HIV/AIDS are coinfected with the hepatitis C virus.
  • HIV/HCV coinfected persons have twice the risk of cirrhosis and a six-fold increased risk of liver failure compared to people with HCV alone.
  • HCV-related end-stage liver disease is now a leading cause of death among HIV-positive persons.
  • HCV disproportionately affects medically underserved populations including the homeless, Native Americans, African-Americans, persons of Hispanic descent, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
  • HCV seroprevalence rates of up 22% have been demonstrated among homeless persons.
  • The HCV seroprevalence rates among African-Americans (3.2%) and Mexican-Americans (2.1%) are significantly higher than in the general U.S. or Caucasian American populations.
  • Chronic liver disease/cirrhosis and viral hepatitis are more common causes of death in Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans than among the general U.S. population.
  • Those with a low socioeconomic status and limited education are disproportionately affected by hepatitis C.
  • Without intervention, complications associated with HCV-related cirrhosis are projected to increase dramatically by 2020: liver failure by 106%, liver cancer by 81%, and liver-related deaths by 180%.
  • Direct medical costs of hepatitis C: > $750 million/year
  • Total medical expenditures for people with HCV: $15 billion/year
  • Employer costs for absentee losses due to hepatitis C: $4-5 billion/year
  • Cost of premature disability and death (2010-2019): $75.5 billion
  • Years of life lost to hepatitis C (2010-2019): 3.1 million years
  • With current state-of-the-art treatment, approximately 50% of those treated for hepatitis C successfully clear the virus and further disease progression is halted.
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Hepatitis C can show no symptoms until advanced liver damage develops.

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