KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, today announced a collaboration with the American Liver Foundation to raise awareness among U.S. veterans about their increased risk for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Chronic HCV infection can slowly damage the liver and may cause serious liver disease decades following initial infection, often without apparent symptoms. Through the initiative, the American Liver Foundation will join events in cities across the country to educate veterans about risk factors for chronic HCV infection, as well as how they can be tested and treated, if appropriate.
Chronic HCV infection is the most common blood-borne disease in the United States, affecting approximately 3.5 million people. Veterans are three times more likely to have chronic HCV infection than the general population. The risk is highest for veterans born between 1945 and 1965, who are five times more likely than other veterans to have chronic HCV infection. In addition to age and veteran status, other risk factors for chronic HCV infection include having undergone a transfusion with blood or blood products before 1992, having injected drugs, having gotten body piercings or tattoos, or being infected with HIV.
“Despite their increased risk for chronic hepatitis C virus infection, too many veterans remain undiagnosed,” said Thomas F. Nealon III, chief executive officer of the American Liver Foundation. “We are proud to work with Merck on this important initiative, which we believe will help many veterans better understand their risk, as well as their options for getting tested and linked to care.”
Through the program, educational events will initially be held in Boston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Diego. At the events, educators from the American Liver Foundation will speak with veterans about their potential risk factors for chronic HCV infection and provide tips and resources for those who are at-risk or living with the disease.
“At Merck, we are deeply grateful for the service and sacrifices that veterans have made for our country,” said John Schwind, executive director, Merck. “We will continue working on behalf of veterans through initiatives such as this, as well as through our broader commitment to hiring veterans and providing resources to support employees transitioning to civilian life.”
For more information about the educational events and to learn more about the impact of chronic HCV on veterans, please contact your local American Liver Foundation office.
About Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a chronic viral infection that is spread through contact with infected blood and can cause serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. Chronic HCV slowly damages the liver, often without showing symptoms. In many cases, the infection is not recognized until problems with the liver have already developed.
About The American Liver Foundation
The American Liver Foundation is a trusted voice and resource for patients with liver disease. Its mission is to facilitate, advocate and promote education, support and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. The Foundation’s 16 divisions across the country provide support to patients, families and the general public. It funds research that has helped further careers of young scientists in the field of liver health in the hopes of finding treatments and cures for liver disease.
For more information, visit the American Liver Foundation website or call the National HelpLine 1-800-GO-LIVER (1-800-465-4837).
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
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