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Jon Secada joins hepatitis C awareness campaign after father's death

February 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Three-time Grammy winner Jon Seceda wants to raise awareness about hepatitis C after his father died from complications related to the virus.

The Cuban-American singer-songwriter's father, Jose, kept his hepatitis diagnosis a secret for a decade, failing to get the help he needed.

He died last year, and now his son wants to make sure others get diagnosed and share information with their families.

Secada, whose hits include "Just Another Day," lent his voice Thursday to a campaign to raise awareness among Hispanics about the disease.

The American Liver Foundation and the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Merck - known as MSD in Latin America - are sponsoring the campaign.

Hispanics make up an estimated one-third of the 3.2 million Americans who have chronic hepatitis C.

The virus can remain in the body for years and severely damage the liver, but it's often not talked about because people can go without symptoms for years.

Also, there has long been a stigma around the illness because it is a blood-borne disease that can be contracted through needle exchange and sex.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.