DHEC in the News: HIV Testing, Hydrant Testing, West Nile virus

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

HIV testing is key to early diagnosis and prevention.

National HIV Testing Day was Tuesday, with the goal of promoting HIV testing and early diagnosis. Through DHEC clinics and partnering community providers, testing services in 2016 helped diagnose and link more than 230 people to HIV medical care who otherwise might have not known their status until much later.

Emphasis must not end with the annual observance. While treatment is vital, the adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure applies.

Hydrant testing in Abbeville could cause temporarily discolored water.

Abbeville Public Utilities will be flushing and testing all of the fire hydrants in the city’s system starting Monday and continuing for about two weeks.

There is a chance the work will cause discoloration in the tap water of the areas around hydrants being tested. Mark Hall, director of Abbeville Public Utilities, said it is unlikely tap water would become unsafe to drink, but if the possibility arises, people in the area will be alerted immediately.

West Nile Detected In Lowcountry; DHEC Wants Public’s Help.

West Nile has been detected in South Carolina for the first time this year.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control and Beaufort County officials confirm mosquitoes in the Lowcountry have tested positive for West Nile virus. …

 “Prevention is really the best way to avoid West Nile virus. Preventing those mosquito bites. Wearing insect repellent, you know, long pants, long shirts, long sleeved shirts if you can. Making sure you’re using screens to make sure mosquitoes aren’t getting into your home… and clearing any standing water on your property,” Teresa Foo said, a medical consultant with DHEC.

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