The Rhode Island Dept. of Health estimates nearly 11,000 Rhode Islanders are infected with the Hepatitis C virus but don’t know it. That’s why the department is encouraging testing.
There’s also new push nationwide, thanks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to raise awareness about untreated Hepatitis C, which is a leading cause of liver disease. The big concern is baby boomers, who are five times more likely to be infected than the general population. That’s because many were infected before much was known about the virus, and because lots of people live with the virus for years without feeling sick. Even boomers who shared a needle once, decades ago, could still be infected. So Rhode Island health officials recommend they and anyone else at risk get a simple blood test. Several sites around the state offer those on a sliding fee scale.