In the United States in the mid-1990s, more than fifty thousand people were dying from HIV and now that number is down to approximately thirteen thousand due in part to condom distribution and education campaigns. Now there is a new deadlier killer on the horizon and that is Hepatitis C and one that they are calling the “Silent Killer.” The reason that it has this moniker is that many people do not realize they even have it. There are approximately three point two million people who have chronic hepatitis C virus, and most of these millions of people are baby boomer adults.
If they do not know they have it, they could unintentionally be spreading this disease by exposure to blood and sexual contact occasionally. The biggest risk factor is sharing a needle and blood transfusions, especially before 1992 when they began to test the blood that was donated. This virus takes a few decades to do its damage, which is why baby boomers are at risk.
In 2007 approximately fifteen thousand people died from issues related to hepatitis C and almost all of them were between the ages of forty-five and sixty-four. As the population with the disease gets older, they expect that number to double and the cost of treatment in the decade 2010 to 2019 is going to be approximately six point seven billion dollars.
The Federal heath officials are trying to decide if anyone born between the years of 1945 and 1965 should get a one time blood test to see if their liver harbors this time bomb that is ticking away inside them. There are two new drugs on the market that help with this condition but there is no guarantee that these treatments can cure them. These treatments can cost between one and four thousand dollars a week and treatment can take six months or longer.