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Oct 29, 2013 8:29 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

CDC urges baby boomers to get tested for Hepatitis C

TUCSON- Donalee Ehrhard found out she had Hepatitis C in 1988, after being turned away from donating blood.

"I'm a child of the '80s," Ehrhard said, "We did a lot of drugs, we did a lot of cocaine and we did a lot of unsafe sex practices."

The 57-year-old isn't the only one who made some bad choices back in the days of sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 75% of adults who have the disease are baby boomers.

But unlike Ehrhard, many of them never found out they were infected with Hepatitis C because there are no symptoms for quite some time.

Now the CDC is urging anyone born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested.

"Very few people get acute hepatitis when they get the infection and it just sits there and smolders for 20, 30,or 40 years," Dr. Thomas Boyer said, "Then all of a sudden they'll have a significant liver disease or even cancer."

Dr. Boyer, Director of the Liver Research Institute at UAMC, said now is the time for baby boomers to find out if they have Hepatitis C. A simple test will do the trick, no divulging required. "It kind of can be embarrassing to tell your doctor you snorted a little coke or shot a little heroin," Dr. Boyer said. "You don't really want to say that to your physician."

He says the sooner you have a diagnosis, the sooner you may be cured. "The therapies we're offering are becoming increasingly effective, with fewer and fewer side effects," Dr. Boyer said.

Ehrhard still isn't cured, but she is grateful she found out about her diagnosis early on before it was too late. I'm at the end of my treatment for this round and hopefully it's the last round," Ehrhard said.

For more information about Hepatitis C visit the CDC website.

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