May 2017: Hepatitis C Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus and infected individuals can transmit it to others through injection drug use, which accounts for approximately two-third of all new cases, as well as through other modes of transmission including sexual contact, tattooing, from mother to unborn child during the birth process, and via occupational exposure to blood; and,

WHEREAS, it is believed that the majority of people with Hepatitis C, including many infected through blood transfusions before 1992 or blood products before 1987, do not know they are infected, and many at high-risk for future infection are not aware of their risk; and,

WHEREAS, it is estimated that three out of four people infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not know they have it. It is estimated that 3.2 million Americans and 160,000 Michigan residents have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection; and,

WHEREAS, Hepatitis C virus infection is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. Worldwide, about 150 million people are chronically infected with the Hepatitis C virus, and approximately 15,000 Americans die every year from liver cancer or other chronic liver disease associated with viral hepatitis; and,

WHEREAS, 75 to 85 percent of individuals infected with the Hepatitis C virus go on to develop chronic infection, which can result in damage to the liver, end-stage liver disease and death; and,

WHEREAS, studies are showing the risk of progression can be prevented or delayed through early detection, appropriate medical management and behavior change; and,

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control has designated May as National Hepatitis Awareness Month to highlight the serious damage that hepatitis can do to the liver; and,

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that persons born between 1945-1965 be screened for the Hepatitis C virus; and,

WHEREAS, increased public awareness and education about Hepatitis C, and the provision of a continuum of hepatitis-related services including prevention programming, testing and medical management/treatment, is needed to ensure the best possible health outcomes for individuals already infected with the Hepatitis C virus and to prevent new infections;

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