Today is the sixth annual World Hepatitis Day and free testing, screening for hepatitis B and C and vaccinations for hepatitis B are being offered throughout the city to staunch an epidemic that kills 4,000 people a day worldwide.
About 250,000 New York City residents are believed to have the hepatitis B or C virus, but many don't know they're infected because the disease usually progresses slowly until it erupts in liver cancer or another serious hepatic ailment.
Baby boomers -- people born between 1945 and 1965 -- are at particular risk for Hep C and represent the largest group of those dying from the illness. Others at high risk are people with a history of IV drug use, men who have sex with men and immigrants from countries in Asia and Africa where Hep B is prevalent.
Various options exist to find testing, treatment and vaccinations. You can plug your ZIP code into the box at nyc.gov/hepatitisabc or go to hepfree.nyc to find a convenient testing center or nearby mobile van.
You can also obtain info by texting LIVER to 877877. If you have a primary care provider, ask your physician about your risk factors for hepatitis and if you should be tested.