- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2012

MIAMI (AP) - Three-time Grammy winner Jon Secada wishes his father Jose hadn’t kept his Hepatitis C diagnosis a secret.

The Cuban-American singer-songwriter’s father died last year from complications related to the virus and failed to get the help he needed in time. Hispanics make up an estimated one-third of the 3.2 million Americans who suffer from Hepatitis C, which can remain in the body for years and severely damage the liver. Yet there has long been a stigma around the illness, because it can be contracted through needle exchange and sex.

Secada will lend his voice Thursday to a campaign to raise awareness among Hispanics about the disease. The American Liver Foundation and the pharmaceutical company Merck _ known as MSD in Latin America _ are sponsoring the campaign.