SOURCE: Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program

June 21, 2006 06:15 ET

Caring Ambassadors Program Offering Free Hepatitis C Counseling and Screening at Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

OREGON CITY, OR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 21, 2006 -- Free, confidential hepatitis C counseling and screening will be provided by the Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program (HCCAP) at the upcoming Portland Waterfront Blues Festival. HCCAP staff and volunteers will be available in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Health Pavilion throughout the festival hours of operation. The festival takes place from June 30th through July 4th at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Hepatitis C is the most common chronic, blood-borne infection in the U.S. Nearly 5-times more Americans have been infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) than have been infected with HIV. Approximately 174,000 people in Oregon and Washington are among the estimated 5 million Americans who have already been infected with HCV. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of chronic liver disease, now among the top 10 killers of Americans over the age of 25. Hepatitis C has been dubbed "the silent epidemic" because the majority of people with HCV are unaware of their status. The best estimates available indicate that at least 3.5 million Americans with HCV have not yet been diagnosed. The Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program believes each and every person with this potentially life-threatening virus has the right to be diagnosed.

"The incidence of liver cancer and the need for liver transplantation are rising at alarming rates in this country, primarily as a consequence of undiagnosed, untreated chronic hepatitis C. Our presence at the Waterfront Blues Festival is part of our organization's mission to change that legacy. It is critically important for those that may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus to be tested so that those who are infected have the opportunity to potentially alter the course of their disease," said HCCAP Manager, Lorren Sandt.

"The hepatitis C screening process we'll be using is quick, easy, and highly accurate. Knowing your hepatitis C status can bring great peace of mind, and may end up saving your life. It's certainly 10 minutes well spent!" said Dr. Tina St. John, Medical Director of the Caring Ambassadors Program.

The Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program screening facilities will be located in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Health Pavilion. Other health care information and services will also be available in the Health Pavilion including free blood sugar testing, bone density testing, and cardiovascular risk assessment.

Be good to yourself and your loved ones -- know your hepatitis C status!

For additional information about the hepatitis C screening available at the Waterfront Blues Festival, contact Lorren Sandt at 1.503.632.9032 or lorren@hepcchallenge.org.

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