Held each May, Hepatitis Awareness Month is a month long campaign which aims to raise awareness about hepatitis. It was first established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2001. More than 5 million people in the United States are affected by hepatitis.
The word “hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is most often caused by one of several viruses, which is why it is often called viral hepatitis. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Rarer forms of hepatitis include Hepatitis D, Hepatitis E, and autoimmune hepatitis.
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections which can lead to liver cancer. Many Americans are unaware that they are infected with these serious liver diseases. That is why Hepatitis Awareness Month is essential to raising awareness, which in turn will help improve screening and testing rates to reduce the burden of illness and death from these diseases.
CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis is leading a national campaign called Know More Hepatitis. The initiative aims to increase awareness about this hidden epidemic and encouraging people born from 1945-1965 to get tested for Hepatitis C. The Division is also coordinating with community partners to promote testing among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through the multilingual Know Hepatitis B campaign.
Hepatitis Risk Assessment
The CDC's online Hepatitis Risk Assessment is designed to determine an individual’s risk for viral hepatitis and asks questions based upon CDC’s recommendations for testing and vaccination. The Hepatitis Risk Assessment allows individuals to answer questions privately, either in their home or in a health care setting, and print their recommendations to discuss with their doctor.
Hepatitis Testing Day – May 19th
May 19th has been designated as a national “Hepatitis Testing Day” in the United States. The CDC will use the annual Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19th as an opportunity to remind health care providers and the public who should be tested for chronic viral hepatitis.
Vaccine Preventable: Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B can both be prevented with vaccines.
Cases of Hepatitis A have dramatically declined in the U.S. over the last 20 years largely due to vaccination efforts. The Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children at one year of age and for adults who may be at increased risk.
Unfortunately, many people became infected with Hepatitis B before the Hepatitis B vaccine was widely available. The hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants at birth and for adults who may be at increased risk.
Buttons, Banners, PSAs, Posters
Additional promotional tools – including buttons, banners, PSAs, and posters – are available on the CDC website for Hepatitis Awareness Month.