DHMH Observes National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day, May 15:
Baltimore Health Fair Offers Free Testing May 28
Baltimore, MD (May 14, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Prevention and Health Promotion Administration (PHPA) joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Family Health Centers of Baltimore-Cherry Hill, and Sisters Together and Reaching (STAR) in observing May 15 as National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day.
Hepatitis A, B and C are a group of viral infections that damage the liver and can cause liver cancer. Contaminated food may place a person at risk for hepatitis A virus (HAV). Being born to a mother who has hepatitis B virus (HBV) or having unprotected sex with someone who is HBV-infected may place a person at risk for HBV. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is most often transmitted by injecting drugs. Most people with HCV don’t have any symptoms. Symptoms of chronic HCV may take decades to develop.
The CDC estimates 3.2 million people in the United States are infected with HCV. Infection is most prevalent among “baby boomers,” those born between 1945 and 1965. National estimates indicate that there are between 73,000 to 106,000 people in Maryland who have been infected with HCV during their lifetime. Many individuals may be infected and not be aware of their infection.
“Marylanders should talk to their health care providers about hepatitis A and B vaccinations, and baby boomers should be tested at least once for hepatitis C,” encourages Deborah McGruder, Director of the PHPA Infectious Disease Bureau.
On May 28, 2014, the Family Health Centers of Baltimore-Cherry Hill will host a free Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Health Fair at 3540 S. Hanover Street, Baltimore, MD 21225, from 4 to 7 p.m. Free services available include: HCV and HIV testing, blood pressure and diabetes screening, and dental exams. STAR will provide the testing.
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