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Baby Boomers urged to be tested for Hepatitis C

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a recommendation following concern about a high estimate of Baby Boomers infected with the virus Hepatitis C. Thought he virus can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer, most people don't know they are infected and are unable to seek preventative care.

People born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely than any other adult group to be carrying the virus. One in 30 Baby Boomers is infected: an estimated 2 million Americans. The virus is spread through blood -- intravenous drug use, as well as blood transfusions and organ transplants before screening of the blood supply began in 1992, are some of the means of infection.

The CDC is now urging people in this age demographic to seek blood tests to find out if they have Hepatitis C. Applying for Social Security benefits for illness as soon as a positive result is known can help to fray the cost of treatment, especially for retired people. The treatment can be expensive, but seeking preventative care before liver damage can occur will help infected persons from suffering the worst of the virus.

Treatments can cost upward of $100,000, well out of reach for people without health insurance, and can cause side effects that may impede ability to work. Social Security benefits in the case of illness may be a good option for someone in that situation. Applying for SSDI benefits can be a difficult process, especially in a case of illness like hepatitis C where the symptoms are not always evident. Speaking with a qualified SSDI attorney can make the process easier on the person who is already suffering from health issues, and ensure that the right benefits are applied for and received.

Source: NPR, "CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing For All Boomers," Jon Hamilton, Aug. 16, 2012

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