SOURCE: Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program

May 01, 2008 08:00 ET

Increased Knowledge and Awareness Top Priorities During Hepatitis Awareness Month

VANCOUVER, WA--(Marketwire - May 1, 2008) - As Hepatitis Awareness Month kicks off May 1st, long-time hepatitis C patient advocate Lorren Sandt has one wish: that all people in the Pacific Northwest with chronic viral hepatitis have the information they need to be properly diagnosed. The Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program (CAP Hepatitis C) is working in collaboration with other community-based organizations, nonprofit groups, and state and local health departments to make that goal a reality.

More than 200,000 people living in Washington and Oregon are living with chronic viral hepatitis while thousands of new infections occur each year. "Everyone in America is aware of HIV. Unfortunately, very few know about hepatitis B and C despite the fact that they are much more prevalent than HIV throughout the U.S.," said Lorren Sandt, CAP Hepatitis C Program Director. "It is critical that we raise awareness now to contain the spread of this potentially life-threatening illness, and to help those already infected minimize the personal health consequences."

Governors Ted Kulongoski and Chris Gregoire have issued state proclamations in observance of Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month. The Governors realize the serious public health threat posed by chronic viral hepatitis to Oregonians and Washingtonians. They have leant their political and personal voices to the cause of raising awareness of the personal and community effects of chronic viral hepatitis. With at least 1 in 50 people in the Pacific Northwest infected with the hepatitis B or the hepatitis C virus, someone you know is living with this potentially life-threatening disease.

During Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month, CAP Hepatitis C, other community-based organizations, and some public health departments will be providing hepatitis C screenings free-of-charge to those who may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus. Testing will be conducted at various locations throughout Oregon and Washington. Some locations will provide free vaccinations for hepatitis A and B. Visit www.HepCChallenge.org to find a screening location near you or call 360-816-4186.

About Chronic Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis C is the most common chronic, blood-borne viral infection in the United States. An estimated 5 million Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and 1.25 million have chronic hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease. However, there is no vaccine available to prevent chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis B and C can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, and death. Hepatitis C is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and adult liver transplantation in the United States.

About Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program

The Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program (CAP Hepatitis C) is devoted exclusively to meeting the needs of the hepatitis C community. CAP Hepatitis C is committed to improving the lives of people living with hepatitis C through information and awareness and public advocacy.

The Caring Ambassadors Program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. Founded in 2001, the organization is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, U.S.A.

For additional information about the Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program and Hepatitis Awareness Month, contact Lorren Sandt at 360.816.4186 or Lorren@HepCChallenge.org.

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