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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2010

World Hepatitis Day May 19

COLUMBIA, S.C. - World Hepatitis Day will be observed in South Carolina and around the world on May 19 to raise awareness of chronic viral hepatitis, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“World Hepatitis Day emphasizes the importance of testing for people who are at high risk, and is especially critical for those who have chronic viral hepatitis but who might not know they are infected,” said Jerry Gibson, M.D., director of DHEC’s Bureau of Disease Control.

Dr. Gibson said one in 12 people worldwide is living with either chronic hepatitis B or C, and yet the majority of those infected are unaware. If left untreated, these cancer-causing viruses can kill.

“Getting tested is key to halting these deadly diseases,” Dr. Gibson said. “A simple blood test will tell you if you have the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). If you think you are at risk, get tested.

“DHEC clinics routinely offer HCV testing to people who qualify through a health department assessment of their risks for HCV,” Dr. Gibson said. “Those who are at increased risk for hepatitis C include anyone with a history of injecting drugs and those who have been on long-term kidney dialysis. People who received organ or blood donations prior to July 1992 as well as those who were born to a mother who was infected with HCV are also at risk.”

For more information about HBV vaccination and HCV testing sites, call DHEC’s S.C. AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437) or visit the DHEC Web site at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.

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For more information:
Tony Price - (803) 898-0338
E-mail - priceae@dhec.sc.gov
or
Adam Myrick - (803) 898-3884
E-mail - myrickar@dhec.sc.gov
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