By law, DHEC is mandated:
"to investigate the reported causes of communicable or epidemic disease and to enforce or prescribe such preventive measures as may be needed to suppress or prevent the spread of such diseases."
The program's major activity involves HIV, other STDs, TB, protection from measles, polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks from other communicable diseases. Because all South Carolinians may be subject to communicable disease, we cannot abdicate our responsibility to monitor and control communicable diseases.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE CONTROL: PREVENTION
The control and treatment of communicable diseases cannot be accomplished solely by treatment of the disease. Other essential components include: disease surveillance, notifying individuals exposed to disease, screening and education of high risk groups, and reducing individuals' risks through behavior change.
DHEC is the major health care provider in the state with the experience and expertise to monitor, contain and treat such diseases as HIV & STDs, and TB. The agency is also the state's major provider of immunization to children six and under.
Because the treatment and control of HIV and TB are often inextricably related, they must be addressed comprehensively.
The control of communicable diseases cannot depend on an infected or at-risk person's decision to seek treatment.
DHEC has the services and referral system in place to provide treatment, control disease outbreaks, and prevent childhood diseases anywhere in the state.