National Hepatitis Testing Day

By the Governor of Alabama
WHEREAS, chronic hepatitis B (HBV) affects approximately 240 million people worldwide, and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects approximately 130-150 million people, millions of these people are still living with the burden of stigma associated with these viral infections. Currently, 2.2 million people live with chronic hepatitis B and 2.7 to 3.9 million live with chronic hepatitis C in the United States alone. Since the 1980’s, the incidence of liver cancer has tripled and liver cancer has quickly become a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, claiming more than 27,000 lives in the United States annually; and
WHEREAS, two of the viruses, HBV and HCV, will not present symptoms of infection for many years causing individuals to neglect early screening allowing the virus to manifest into liver disease. With no symptoms at the early stages of disease, up to 65 to 75 percent of Americans with HBV or HCV are not aware of their diagnosis and do not seek treatment. Prevention techniques and vaccinations have significantly reduced the current incidence of hepatitis; and
WHEREAS, barriers to adequate treatment, such as high costs for drug treatment regimens, scarcity of hepatitis screening and testing, the need for consultation from hepatitis specialists only, and reduced cooperation from insurance companies contribute to the burden of illness and influences the effectiveness and accessibility of treatment; and
WHEREAS, hepatitis risk assessments indicate that early detection of hepatitis can be vital in the prevention of acute hepatitis leading to a chronic infection, it also reveals the dangers of being unaware of a hepatic diagnosis. It’s beneficial to the overall health and wellbeing of its citizens if everyone is tested as a method of prevention and early detection; and
WHEREAS, studies have found that patients whose treatment began at early stages in their illness have experienced improved quality of life and increased cost effectiveness; including effective vaccines that protect residents from hepatitis B and new treatment regimens for hepatitis C:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, do hereby proclaim May 19, 2017, as
National Hepatitis Testing Day
in the State of Alabama and urge all citizens to contact the HFI, their primary care provider, local health department, or community clinic in order to get tested and receive preventive viral hepatitis information.
Given Under My Hand and the Great Seal of the Office of the Governor at the State Capitol in the City of Montgomery on the 1st day of May 2017.
Kay Ivey