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Category: Liver Diseases
While HIV testing remains a critical public health concern, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that hepatitis C infection is now a more common cause of death.
Researchers from the agency analyzed health records from more than 22 million individuals who passed away between 1999 and 2007. The results showed that while deaths from HIV declined during this period, there was a sharp uptick in the number of deaths caused by hepatitis C infection.
During the study period, 15,106 individuals died from hepatitis C infection, while 12,734 people died from HIV.
The team's report noted that most deaths from hepatitis C occurred in middle-aged individuals. Furthermore, a large percentage of people who are infected with the disease are unaware of their condition. This leads to a high number of preventable deaths.
It may be possible to reverse this trend. The researchers pointed out that efforts similar to those that led to a reduction in HIV deaths could stem the flow of new hepatitis C infections and eventual deaths. This will require programs to identify infected individuals and connect them to treatment.
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