DOH-PINELLAS PROVIDES NO-COST HEPATITIS TESTS AND VACCINES ON JULY 25
July 12, 2019
World Hepatitis Day is July 28, but the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is observing it early. On Thursday, July 25, its St. Petersburg and Mid-County clinics will be providing no-cost hepatitis C testing.
Hepatitis A vaccines continue to be provided at no cost at DOHPinellas clinics.
Staff will provide hepatitis C testing, hepatitis A vaccines and education at these locations from 8:30 a.m. to noon on July 25:
• St. Petersburg: 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.
• Mid-County: 8751 Ulmerton Rd., Largo
It's especially important for Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, and those who share needles to know their status because hepatitis can reside in the body without symptoms for decades. Knowing one's status can mean an opportunity for early treatment before liver damage occurs.
The term "hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A, Band C are the most common forms of viral hepatitis in the United States. These viruses can have similar symptoms, but can be transmitted differently:
• Hepatitis A is a very contagious live infection that's usually spread from contaminated objects, food or water or close contact with an infected person. An effective vaccine is available to prevent the spread of hepatitis A. DOH-Pinellas has been providing no-cost hepatitis A vaccines at its clinics since the fall of 2018. They are available without an appointment.
• Hepatitis B spreads via bodily fluids from one person to another. Sex and contact with contaminated blood can pass it on. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B. Two-thirds of people with hepatitis B don't know they are infected.
• Hepatitis C spreads when blood from a person with the infection enters another person's body. Sharing needles is a possible mode of transmission. Baby Boomers- older adults born between 1946 and 1964--have the highest hepatitis C rates among age groups over 30. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that Baby Boomers get tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetimes. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
The CDC has an online tool to help adults determine their hepatitis risk. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessmentlindex.htm to take the quiz.
For information on DOH-Pinellas' Hepatitis Program, go to http://pinellas.floridahealth .gov/programs-and-services/i nfectious-diseaseservices/ hepatitis/index.html or call (727) 824-6932. DOH-Pinellas provides hepatitis vaccines at its clinics.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.