Former State Sen. Burt Cohen Encourages Baby Boomers Get Tested for Hep C
Talk radio host and former Democratic state Sen. Burt Cohen has a message for his fellow baby boomers: Get screened for hepatitis C virus. Cohen was notified by his doctor of his infection in the summer of 2007, when he was in his mid-50s. He had likely had HCV for decades.
“I was stunned,” Cohen recalled. “It just took me a few days to process it. To think it had been in my system for 35 years or so without my knowing it was scary. It was frightening.”
The following year, Cohen underwent HCV treatment with a drug in development by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He has since cleared the virus from his body and has been paid by Vertex to speak on its behalf. The recent HCV infections at Exeter Hospital also led Cohen to tell others about his experience.
According to health officials, hundreds of thousands of baby boomers were infected with HCV as young adults each year during the 1970s and 1980s. In May, CDC proposed one-time screening for anyone born from 1945 to 1965 to check for the liver-destroying virus, saying such testing could lead to 800,000 more people getting treated and save more than 120,000 lives.
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