Cases of hepatitis C spike among young metro-area residents

DENVER– Cases of hepatitis C have tripled over the past four years among 21- to 30-year-olds in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Douglas counties, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

In 2012, there were just 91 cases and last year, there were 255 cases. Between 2015 and 2016, cases rose by 65 percent, from 151 to 255.

Denver Public Health said the increase in hepatitis cases is linked to the increase in injection drug use.

It reminds the public it provides access to free, sterile syringes and safe injection equipment through syringe access programs.

Several include Harm Reduction Action Center in downtown Denver, It Takes A Village off Colfax Avenue in Aurora and Points West in Lakewood.

Hepatitis C is a live infection that spreads between people through blood. Many people do not experience symptoms until they develop advanced liver disease.

If diagnosed early, hepatitis C can be curable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone who ever injected illegal drugs or were born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested for hepatitis C, and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.

There is no vaccination for hepatitis C.