Jackson's VA Center is seeing an increase in Hepatitis C cases among Baby Boomers.
Infectious Disease specialists began offering HIV and Hepatitis C screenings in December of 2014, and so far 280 patients have tested positive for Hepatitis C. The HIV/HEP C tests are offered in conjunction with patients receiving treatment for substance use disorders.
Doctors attribute the spike is linked to opioid use.
When opioids are not available, some users turn to injecting heroin. Physicians said not all cases come from needle injections.
"We discovered about one in five had Hepatitis C and 25% of the cases that we discovered were brand new cases," said Jackson VA Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mary Jane Burton. "Meaning the day they walked into substance use disorder treatment they did not know they were infected."
VA physicians said the spike in Hepatitis C is among those born from 1945 to 1965 and screenings are recommended for all patients in that age range.