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WHEREAS, millions of Americans are impacted by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV), which cause infection to the liver; and
WHEREAS, an estimated 39,900 Virginians live with HCV and approximately 2,000 HBV cases are reported to the state every year; and
WHEREAS, more than half of Virginians living with viral hepatitis are unaware they are infected, thereby increasing their risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death; and
WHEREAS, with early detection, hepatitis B can be treated and hepatitis C can be cured; and
WHEREAS, the current epidemic of opioid and other substance use is increasing transmission of these viruses; and
WHEREAS, the CDC recommends that all adults aged 18 years and older and pregnant women be screened for HCV; and
WHEREAS, it is also recommended that all at-risk individuals be screened for HBV, including people born in regions of the world where HBV is common; and
WHEREAS, people who inject drugs, pregnant women, at-risk adults, and all children are advised by the CDC to be vaccinated against HAV and HBV; and
WHEREAS, the CDC recommends educating the public and healthcare professionals about hepatitis prevention, testing, treatment, and the development of systems to conduct viral hepatitis surveillance; and
WHEREAS, stakeholders have established the Virginia Hepatitis Coalition to advance elimination efforts in the state through advocacy, support, education, and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 19, 2021, as HEPATITIS TESTING DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.