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June 4, 2013 > Honda encourages Hepatitis testing, plans legislative push

Honda encourages Hepatitis testing, plans legislative push

Submitted By Anthony Kusich

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) hosted Hepatitis Testing Day at the Capitol on May 23, 2013 getting tested and commenting on the importance of early detection of these life-threatening ailments. Attended by representatives from leading national health organizations and a bipartisan panel of legislators, including Hank Johnson (D-GA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Charlie Dent (R-PA), attendees were given the opportunity to test for both hepatitis B, which is treatable, and hepatitis C, which is curable.

"I have worked in Congress to bring the issue of viral hepatitis to the forefront of public awareness. As the author of several hepatitis-related bills over the past few years, being able to take part in the first-ever Congressional testing day holds a very special significance. So much progress has been made and we now have screening guidelines, greater public responsiveness, and an action plan but today is also a reminder that until we get comprehensive legislation passed and real education and testing funds, our work will not be done."

More than five million people living in the United States have hepatitis B or C, with the vast majority unaware they are affected. The diseases afflict ethnic minorities at a disproportionate rate, with Asian Americans accounting for over half of type B cases and type C occurring twice as frequently in African Americans. Honda is co-chair of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus and will re-introduce bipartisan legislation in late 2013 to provide a public health response to the epidemic.

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