May 19, 2017: Hepatitis Awareness Day

WHEREAS, chronic hepatitis B (HBV) affects approximately 350 million people worldwide, and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects approximately 170-200 million people. Millions of these people are still living with the burden of the stigma associated with these viral infections; and,

WHEREAS, two of the viruses, HBV and HCV, will not present symptoms of infection for many years, causing residents to neglect early screening allowing the virus to manifest into liver disease. With no symptoms at the early stages, 65 to 75 percent of Americans with HBV or HCV are not aware of their diagnosis and in return, 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 hepatitis diagnosis; 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;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim May 19, 2017 as Hepatitis Awareness Day in Michigan.