April is National Minority Health Month, and this year’s theme is “Give Your Community a Boost!” The focus of the theme is to highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations to help end the pandemic, which disproportionately impacted traditionally marginalized and underserved populations.Continue reading
Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. This year’s Earth Day theme is “invest in our planet”. We are on this planet together and together we can invest our time, energy, and effort, to protect and preserve this planet we call Earth for ourselves and future generations.
As citizens of the Earth and South Carolina, we can actively invest in our planet by:
Participating in Citizen Science projects/programs. These projects/programs are something you can do year-round. Citizen science is when people collect data through observation of the physical world and report it to the scientific community. They range from global efforts such as the Great Back Yard Bird Count to local programs such as SC Adopt a Beach and SC Adopt a Stream programs.
Learn more about South Carolina’s environment by participating in local state park programs and events. State Park programs and events cater to all ages and interest from the mountains to the sea, including interpretive nature walks, interactive exhibits, and other outdoor adventures.
Some things you can do to invest time, energy, and effort, around your community and in your own yard include:
- Start a neighborhood project to label storm drains; only rainwater should go down the drain.
- Compost at home and use the compost as a natural fertilizer for flower beds.
- Bag the grass when mowing in the Spring to stop the spread of weeds and reduce the need for harsh chemicals on the yard.
- Encourage local schools and businesses to enroll in the Breathe Better Anti-Idling program to reduce air pollution, the Champions of the Environment competitive grant program to promote student engagement, and the Take Action SC Environmental Education program that encourages and promotes environmental education across South Carolina
To learn more about what you can do to celebrate Earth Day, visit DHEC’s Make Every Day Earth Day webpage.
The week of April 10-16 presents a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of STDs in all populations.
STD Awareness Week provides an opportunity to examine how STDs impact our lives. It also helps to reduce STD-related stigma, fear, and discrimination. Through this special week, DHEC works to ensure that people have the tools and knowledge to prevent, test for, and treat STDs.
You can find an STD testing location near you by calling DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437) or visiting DHEC’s service locator at www.scdhec.gov/HIVLocator.
DHEC’s programs and community partners target their HIV and STD prevention efforts to reach persons most at risk of acquiring these infections. This includes efforts to reach youth and young adults with information and resources to avoid the infections.
In 2020, 84% of cases of chlamydia in South Carolina were diagnosed in adolescents and adults under the age of 30. Of those cases, more than one in four (28%) were diagnosed in youth ages 15 to 19.
Also, in 2020, more than two-thirds (70%) of gonorrhea cases were diagnosed in persons between the ages of 15 to 29. Of those persons diagnosed, almost one of every five cases (18%) were among youth ages 15 to 19.
DHEC’s programs also work to increase access to treatment and support services for those who are impacted by HIV and other STDs.
Spring is here and that means the return of the ozone forecasting season, which for South Carolina is April 1st through September 30.
As it heats up in the Palmetto state and we drive our vehicles, the exhaust mixes with other pollutants and contributes to ground-level ozone in our atmosphere. Under certain conditions, ozone levels can be high enough that an “Ozone Action Day,” or “orange day” alert, is issued. High levels can adversely impact people who are sensitive to ozone pollution, especially children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems.Continue reading
More than 300 Scouts from throughout the Palmetto State met March 19 at River Bluff High School to participate in Merit Badge University. DHEC’s Tripp Clark, Director of Procurement Services and a life-long Boy Scout and Scout leader, led 16 scouts in a day-long investigation into the world of public health.