FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2012
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement from HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh
Millions of Americans have chronic viral hepatitis, but up to 75 percent of those infected do not know it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ action plan for Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis designated May 19 as the first-ever National Hepatitis Testing Day. This day is part of a larger government-wide initiative to educate people about viral hepatitis and to encourage everyone to talk to their health care provider about whether they are at risk.
The prevalence of viral hepatitis in the United States is staggering. Thousands of Americans die every year from hepatitis-related liver disease and liver cancer. There are now lifesaving treatments available that can limit disease progression and prevent cancer deaths.
In order to increase the number of people who get tested for viral hepatitis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new online Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool, which the Surgeon General and I are promoting through a series of public service announcements. This online tool will assess an individual’s risk for viral hepatitis and generate a summary of recommendations for testing and vaccination that people can print and take to their doctor to discuss.
Our goal is that this risk assessment tool will raise awareness about this silent epidemic among members of the public, as well as the health care community. We are hoping all of our partners will help us share information about this exciting new tool and encourage people to use it.
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Last revised: May 17, 2012