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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2011

World Hepatitis Day July 28

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

“Our community partners will offer more hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing this summer through new technology just approved by the Food and Drug Administration that provides rapid testing for HCV,” said Janet Tapp, director of DHEC’s STD/HIV Division. “We’re working with our partners to help diagnose the approximately 3 million Americans with chronic hepatitis B and C who don’t know they are infected.”

Tapp said there are an estimated 58,000-85,000 people living with chronic hepatitis C in South Carolina.

“Getting tested is the key to halting these viruses,” Tapp said. “A simple blood test will tell you if you have HCV. If you think you are at risk, get tested.”

According to Tapp, DHEC's support for expanding HCV testing is consistent with the national Institute of Medicine's published expert recommendations as well as the viral hepatitis action plan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For information about HCV testing sites, call DHEC's South Carolina AIDS/STD toll-free hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (2437) or go to DHEC’s website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.

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For media inquiries:
Tony Price – (803) 898-0338
Email – priceae@dhec.sc.gov
or
Adam Myrick – (803) 898-3884
Email – myrickar@dhec.sc.gov
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