SOURCE: Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program

April 30, 2007 10:00 ET

Governors Kulongoski and Gregoire Proclaim May 2007 Hepatitis Awareness Month

"The Silent Epidemic" Gains Voices

OREGON CITY, OR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 30, 2007 -- The Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program (HCCAP) applauds Governors Kulongoski and Gregoire for recognizing viral hepatitis as a serious threat to public health by issuing proclamations recognizing Hepatitis Awareness month in their respective states. Hepatitis C is the most common chronic, blood-borne viral infection in the United States, and is the leading cause of chronic liver disease. An estimated 5 million Americans have been infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) including at least 171,000 citizens in Oregon and Washington.

HCCAP Program Director, Lorren Sandt, said of the proclamations, "Raising awareness among the general public about hepatitis C is especially important since the majority of people living with hepatitis C remain undiagnosed. People cannot change the course of their disease or protect their loved ones if they are unaware of their own health status."

HCCAP's efforts during Hepatitis Awareness Month are focused on educating the general public and policy-makers about both the health threat posed by hepatitis C and the opportunity to turn the tide on this public health crisis. The death rate from hepatitis C is expected to triple from 2010 to 2019. Increased testing and treatment can help curb this dire prediction. "Hepatitis C is a rarity among viral illnesses in that we have medications that cure the disease in approximately half of those who undergo treatment," said Dr. Tina St. John, Medical Director of HCCAP. She added, "In the near future, we hope to improve therapies so that cure is possible in nearly all people treated. There are several products currently in clinical trials showing very promising preliminary results."

Lorren Sandt noted, "The number of people in Oregon and Washington living with hepatitis C would fill the Rose Garden more than 8 times. We have an opportunity to help every one of those individuals, but we must act now. Thank you, Governors Kulongoski and Gregoire, for taking action!"

About Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program

The Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program (HCCAP) is a division of the national nonprofit public charity, the Caring Ambassadors Program, Inc. Headquartered in Oregon City, Oregon, HCCAP is committed to improving the health and longevity of those living with chronic hepatitis C through information, awareness, and public advocacy.

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