COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging everyone to know their status and get tested.
DHEC will be offering free testing on National Hepatitis Testing Day, which is Tuesday. Anyone can be tested for HIV, STDs< and Hepatitis C at no cost. Call 1-855-4SCDHEC or visit DHEC’s service locator at www.scdhec.gov/HIVLocator to find a health department near you.
“Hepatitis is a hidden illness. Millions of Americans are living with chronic hepatitis and don’t know they are infected. The only way to find out is to be tested,” said Ali Mansaray, director of the Division of STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis. “Detecting viral hepatitis early can help people avoid serious outcomes, such as liver cancer or the need for a liver transplant.”
There are three common strains of viral hepatitis (A, B, and C) with varying disease severity, prevention and treatment methods. South Carolina is currently experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak, with more than 2,00 cases identified since November 2018.
This outbreak is concentrated among people who use injection or non-injection drugs, people experiencing homelessness, people currently or recently incarcerated, and men who have sex with men.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHEC recommend all adults and pregnant women get tested for Hepatitis C.
Learn more about viral hepatitis and its three common types on the DHEC website or visitcdc.gov/hepatitis.