Get a hep C test, boomers
How well do you remember getting your tonsils out? How about getting your ears pierced? Back when the baby boomers were still babies, doctors hadn’t discovered the necessity of the safety standards that we take for granted today. Medical standards have improved a lot over the years, but one hasn’t: the government has declined to change hepatitis C testing recommendations for baby boomers.
According to Hep C B.C., one out of every 30 individuals born between 1945 and 1975 has been exposed to hepatitis C. However, testing guidelines haven’t been updated, so baby boomers aren’t tested for hepatitis C unless the person can remember details from decades past when they might have been exposed and then specifically request to be tested. The Canada Communicable Disease Report noted that an estimated 44 per cent of people who are infected with hepatitis C are unaware of their status. Hepatitis C typically doesn’t show severe symptoms until liver damage has already begun. The virus can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
The exposure of thousands of citizens to a serious illness like hepatitis C should invoke action. Despite persistent advocacy by groups like Action Hepatitis Canada and the Canadian Liver Association as well as liver specialists, the most recent federal testing guidelines failed to recommend a one-time hep C test for all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975. You’ll have to take your health into your own hands.
Ask your doctor for a one-time hep C blood test at your next check-up.
Sophia Topper, programming assistant
Blood Ties Four Directions