The LIAAC Blog

News and thoughts from the Long Island Association for AIDS Care

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day

By Dr. Gail Barouh

July 28, 2012 is World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of viral hepatitis. Coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance since 2007, World Hepatitis Day was officially recognized by the World Health Organization on May 2010 and it is one of four internationally disease related days.

Hepatitis kills around one million people every year. Millions more suffer immediate sickness or long-term ill health.  World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to recognize viral hepatitis as a major global health problem in order to advance prevention and control. People with Hepatitis can develop lifelong infections and become carriers of the disease. Their livers may become very damaged over time, and the infected carriers can spread the virus to other people. It is generally these people with long-term infections and liver damage that require extensive treatment, good management and support. An important factor in prevention and control is recognition. Knowing you have the virus helps you prevent it from being spread and address the treatment of the disease. Through Project REACH, LIAAC helps detect the disease through testing. Project REACH is designed to prevent and reduce the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and substance abuse through community outreach, testing, and educational interventions. The project seeks to provide HIV, Hepatitis C, and STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) prevention, testing and referral services as well as linking at-risk ethnic and/or racial minority individuals ages 16 and over to treatment.  The goal of the project is to increase community awareness and involve those that are not only affected but infected with HIV, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.

Three million Americans have a chronic Hepatitis C infection, of those, 300,000 infected live in New York State. One out of every 33 Baby Boomers are infected with Hepatitis C. One of the many featured services of Project REACH is free and confidential Hepatitis C rapid testing. Those that test positive are linked to health care providers and are given the opportunity to receive a full range of medical services including access to HIV/Hep C /STI/ TB and Syphilis screenings and treatment.

If you are interested in receiving free Hep C testing, check out the events section of our Facebook page or call 1-877-864-4222.



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