“Hepatitis can’t wait” program aimed at raising awareness

By Amy Williams

Contributing Columnist

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated annually, promoting global awareness by encouraging testing and empowering the community to take a stand in the fight against viral hepatitis. Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Many live with the infection for decades without feeling sick. As a result, there are approximately 1,100,000 deaths each year due to Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait,” which conveys an urgent message to eliminate Hepatitis as a public health threat by the year 2030. The World Health Organization has shared the following communication with the public.

•People living with hepatitis can’t wait for life saving treatments.

•Hepatitis B testing and treatment for pregnant women can’t wait.

•Newborn babies can’t wait for their hepatitis B vaccination at birth.

•People affected by hepatitis can’t wait to be protected against stigma and discrimination.

•Community organizations can’t wait for greater investment.

•Decision makers can’t wait and must act now to make hepatitis elimination a reality through political will and funding.

On July 28, 2021 in celebration of World Hepatitis Day, the Clark County Health Department, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky, stand in support of “Hepatitis Can’t Wait.” Testing and linkage to care is significant in decreasing the prevalence of viral hepatitis. The Clark County Health Department’s provides Hepatitis A and B vaccine. In addition, we provide rapid Hepatitis C testing in order to improve healthcare through education, prevention and treatment. Rapid testing is offered free of charge and is private and confidential. If you are at high risk for exposures to hepatitis, please contact the Clark County Health Department for further guidance because Hepatitis Can’t Wait! 

Hepatitis A – Hepatitis A is an infection spread via fecal/oral transmission. Hepatitis A is found in the stool and blood of an infected person and is easily spread through contaminated food or water. 

Hepatitis B – Hepatitis B, is spread via blood or sexual contact causing mild to severe symptoms. Hepatitis B is a preventable infection. Hepatitis B cannot be cured but it can be managed.

Hepatitis C – Hepatitis C is spread via blood transmission. It cannot be prevented by vaccine and usually leads to chronic infection because of the lack of symptoms. Hepatitis C can be cured. 

For vaccinations details, contact the Clark County Health Department (859)744-4482and ask to speak with the nursing staff. To schedule an appointment for a rapid testing, call (859)744-4482 and ask to speak with Ms. Moon.

Clark County Health Department provides programs for the entire family, including Freedom from Smoking, WIC, HANDS, family planning, well child care/immunizations, and home health care. For more information on all of our service, please call 859/744-4482 or visit our website at www.clarkhealthdept.org. You can also “like” us on Facebook.

AJulie Moon, BSW, DIS, is the Health Education Coordinator for the Clark County Health Department.