CDC fact sheet "Do you know about hepatitis
C in the African American Community?"
African Americans represent 12% of the U.S. population, but
make up about 22% of the chronic Hepatitis C cases.
February is Black History Month. This annual celebration is a
time set aside to commemorate the achievements by African
Americans and to educate the American people about the central
role of African Americans in U.S. history. This month also
presents an opportunity to educate the public and health
professionals about serious health problems within the African
American community, including the Hepatitis C virus. Currently,
there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C and the best way to prevent
the virus is by avoiding behaviors that can spread it. For those
already infected, early detection can save lives.
Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person
infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone
who is not infected. This can happen from sharing equipment for
injecting drugs, receiving blood transfusions or organ
transplants before 1992, getting a needlestick injury in health
care settings, and even being born to a mother who has Hepatitis
C. And some people don’t know how they got infected.
While African Americans represent only 12% of the U.S.
population, they make up about 22% of the chronic Hepatitis C
cases. In fact, African Americans have a substantially higher
rate of chronic Hepatitis C infection than do Caucasians and
other ethnic groups. Within the African American community, men
in their 50’s show the highest rates of infection with 1 in 7
men living with chronic hepatitis C.
Although hepatitis is a serious health problem within the
African American community, too few African Americans at risk
get tested. Fortunately, a simple blood test can determine if a
person has ever been exposed to the virus. And early detection
can save lives.
Share with your friends and family what you have learned
about Hepatitis C. If you think you have been exposed to the
virus, talk to your doctor or health care provider about getting
For more information about Hepatitis C, go to