On July 28, 2022, Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson and representatives from Hamilton Health Center discussed the importance of preventing and treating viral Hepatitis and HIV.
The Pennsylvania government wants residents to not fear testing of life-threatning diseases, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). Many Pennsylvanians are living with these diseases, unaware of their infection. The administration wants people not to fear the unknown or be wary of testing.
“It is important for us to highlight that HIV and viral hepatitis diseases are preventable,” said Dr. Johnson at the Hamilton Health Center community testing and vaccination event.
“I encourage you to not let the unknown scare you and get tested today to know your status.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once. According to the CDC, high-risk individuals should test more frequently. The CDC reccommends that adults 18 and older get tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime. Pregnant people should get tested for Hepatitis C during each pregnancy. High-risk people, including those who inject drugs should test regularly.
The Department of Health partnered with the Hamilton Health Center offers free and confidential rapid-hepatitis C testing, rapid HIV testing, Hepatitis A and B vaccines for eligible people, educational services, harm reduction, and drug use rehabilitation information.
“Hep can’t wait’ – that is the theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day 2022,” said Terese DeLaPlaine, interim CEO at Hamilton Health Center. “
“This theme draws attention to messaging that we cannot simply wait, it is time to act. We cannot wait for a world without hepatitis or a world without stigma. We cannot wait to get tested or treated. We want the community to know resources are available because after all, hepatitis can’t wait.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs launched a media campaign to reduce the stigma of Hepatitis, Aids, and drug use. This media campaign aims to educate Pennsylvania on these diseases and reduce the risk of infection.
For resources regarding these infectious diseases and treatment, click here.