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OraSure Technologies, Inc. announces its support of numerous rapid hepatitis C (HCV) testing initiatives for the first National Hepatitis Testing Day, taking place on May 19, 2012. These testing initiatives, happening in more than 20 cities across the country, will help encourage thousands of people across the U.S. to get tested for hepatitis C with the OraQuickÂ® Rapid HCV test.
Among these programs is the Check Hep C NYC program, being launched today by The Fund for Public Health in New York, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Office. This city-wide initiative will provide hepatitis C community-based services, including rapid hepatitis C testing for New Yorkers at risk for hepatitis C. The program will aim to test at least 5,000 persons for hepatitis C using the OraQuickÂ® HCV rapid test.
"With the release of a new HCV rapid test, more individuals will become aware of their HCV status and will need HCV-related services," says New York City Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Jay Varma. "It is imperative that New Yorkers with hepatitis C be linked with healthcare and human services providers in their communities, and Check Hep C is designed to get this done as effectively as possible."
OraSure is also working with Walgreens and local community-based organizations to provide free screenings for hepatitis C at six Walgreens retail pharmacies in Chicago, Houston, St. Louis and Washington D.C. on Saturday, May 19. Testing will be conducted by the local community-based organizations.
Additional OraQuickÂ® HCV testing initiatives are taking place this week in Chicago, Columbus, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and various other cities.
According to the CDC, hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the U.S., and a leading cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. More than four million people are estimated to have hepatitis C in the U.S. including 1 in 33 baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965). It is estimated that up to 75 percent of those individuals infected with HCV are unaware of their status.
"We are proud to be among the many organizations taking action today against hepatitis C by promoting greater awareness, education and testing for those at risk for the disease," says Douglas A. Michels, president and CEO of OraSure Technologies. "Of the more than four million Americans estimated to be infected with HCV today, most are unaware. Our new rapid OraQuickÂ® HCV test makes testing easier and more accessible."
OraQuickÂ® HCV is the only FDA-approved rapid, point-of-care test for the detection of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. The test, which utilizes the OraQuickÂ® technology platform, provides results in 20 minutes.