Friday, May 19, marks National Hepatitis Testing Day. This national testing day encourages all adults 18 years and older to get screened at least once in their lives for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

In the United States, about 862,000 people are living with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and about 2.4 million are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most people with chronic HBV or HCV don’t experience symptoms until the infection has reached later stages, leading to a greater risk for complications and even death.

Although HCV is curable and HBV is manageable, treatment can begin only when a person is tested and knows their status.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all adults ages 18 and older should be screened for HBV and HCV once in their lifetime, and pregnant women should be tested during each pregnancy.

National Hepatitis Testing Day aims not only to raise awareness about the importance of hepatitis testing, vaccination and treatment but also to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States once and for all, per the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan.

Click Hepatitis Awareness Month for additional events and campaigns happening this May.