The Department Recognizes National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day

Hablemos Sobre la Hepatitis (Let’s Talk About Hepatitis)

 

Baltimore , MD (May 15, 2013) –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 15th as National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day, during Hepatitis Awareness month. This year’s national theme is Hablemos Sobre la Hepatitis (Let’s Talk About Hepatitis).

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 (HAV). Being born to a mother who has Hepatitis B (HBV) or having unprotected sex may place a person at risk for HBV. Being born to a mother who has Hepatitis C (HCV), having contact with another person’s HCV infected blood, and injection drug use may place a person at risk for HCV. It may also be possible to transmit HCV through sexual contact with an individual who is living with HCV.  Most people with HCV don't have any symptoms. Symptoms of chronic HCV may take decades to develop.

CDC estimates 3.2 million adults in America are infected with Hepatitis C, most are baby boomers born from 1945 through 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. Recommendations listed in the May 10, 2013 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report’s (MMWR) Testing for HCV Infection: An Update of Guidance for Clinicians and Laboratorians, provide testing guidance for persons who may have been exposed to HCV.

“The National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day theme is clear, we need to Talk About Hepatitis,” said, Michelle Spencer, Director of PHPA. “Marylanders should talk to their health care provider about Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, and baby boomers should be tested at least once for Hepatitis C.”

On May 20, 2013 residents are invited to a free health fair at the Brooklyn Library located at 300 East of Patapsco Avenue, Baltimore Maryland between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Services will include: free HCV testing, HIV testing, blood pressure, diabetes, and dental screenings.

More information about Hepatitis is located at http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDPCS/AVHPP/SitePages/Home.aspx . 
To locate the May 10, 2013 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report’s (MMWR)new HVC testing  guidance go to http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm62e0507a2.htm

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