The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County will provide free hepatitis testing at its health departments from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 19, which is National Hepatitis Testing Day.
Millions of Americans have chronic hepatitis, but most do not know they're infected. Hepatitis is most often caused by one of several viruses, which is why it is often called viral hepatitis. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Unlike Hepatitis A, which does not cause a long-term infection, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, lifelong infections. More than 4 million Americans are living with chronic Hepatitis B or chronic Hepatitis C in the United States.
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B can both be prevented with vaccines, but there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children at one year of age and for adults who may be at increased risk.
Unfortunately, many people became infected with Hepatitis B before the Hepatitis B vaccine was widely available. The hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants at birth and for adults who may be at increased risk.
Free hepatitis testing will be provided on May 19 at these DOH-Pinellas health departments:
• Tarpon Springs, 301 S. Disston Ave., 727-942-5457