Category Archives: Disease Control

DHEC Celebrates Pharmacists on National Pharmacist Day

Pharmacists are among the most trusted members of our health care system. They not only check and dispense medications that their patients need, but they also offer advice on medicine dosages side effects, and the effectiveness of drug therapies. Patients often see their pharmacist more often than their primary care physician.  

Every year on January 12 we take a moment to thank pharmacists for providing medications to keep us healthy and offering advice on over-the-counter drugs.    

DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control and the Office of Pharmacy provide care, education and oversight in our state.  

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#WorldHepatitisDay Focuses on Need for Urgency in the Fight Against Viral Hepatitis 

“I can’t wait.” That’s the theme the World Hepatitis Alliance has chosen for World Hepatitis Day, July 28. The intent is to highlight the need to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis, the importance of testing and treatment, and to amplify the voices of people affected by calling for immediate action and the end of stigma and discrimination.  

In our state, we declare that South Carolina Can’t Wait!  

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April 10-16 is STD Awareness Week

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.

Targeted Approach

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.

Visit the DHEC website for more information and resources on HIV and STDsYou can also learn more about South Carolina’s Ending the Epidemics Plan.

DHEC Works to Continue to Control and Eliminate Tuberculosis (TB)

When Dr. Robert Koch announced in 1882 his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB), it marked a critical turning point in the fight against the disease. It’s a fight that DHEC’s TB Control Division and its partners continue in South Carolina today.  

In recent years, the push to control TB across the globe had been making positive strides until 2020 when there was what many hope will turn out to be simply a brief setback.  

“For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020. The theme of World TB Day 2022 – ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’ – conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitment to end TB made by global leaders.” 

– Pan American Health Organization; World Health Organization, 2022 

March 24 is World TB Day, and DHEC’s TB Control Division will celebrate it on Friday March 25, 2022. We will join local, state, national, and global public health officials, and partners in recognizing Dr. Koch’s efforts as well as that of people across the world who have worked to control and eliminate TB. 

Click here to learn more about our work with partners to fight this illness. 

About TB 

Tuberculosis is a disease of the lungs that can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or speaking. It is treatable and preventable. We all can play an important role in eliminating tuberculosis in our community by understanding the signs and symptoms and helping to educate others.   

The signs and symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected, but the general signs and symptoms of TB disease include:  

  • feelings of sickness or weakness,  
  • weight loss,  
  • fever,  
  • night sweats, 
  • chest pain, 
  • coughing, and 
  • coughing up blood.  

Click here for a short video on one person’s story related to TB. 

DHEC Celebrates American Heart Month

DHEC’s Healthcare Quality Team wore red in honor of National Go Red Day on Feb. 4

February is American Heart Month, and it provides an opportunity for people to focus on cardiovascular health.

DHEC’s Division of Diabetes and Heart Disease Management wants to encourage everyone to take action to improve their cardiovascular health. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. This means 1 in every 4 deaths total in the U.S. 

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are the key risk factors for heart disease. Getting regular health screenings can detect elevated levels and help with early detection or diagnosis.  

Whatever your age or activity level, there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risks. Engaging in in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, being smoke-free, and limiting the use of alcohol can lower your risk of heart disease and help you live an overall healthier life. 

Check out the DASH for Good Health Southern Style Cookbook for heart healthy recipes. You’ll find heart healthy tips on seasoning substitutions, eating at restaurants, and meal plans. Try the lemon chicken and potatoes recipe.  

For more information on heart health, watch the February 9th episode of Wellness Wednesday, sponsored by the Division of Diabetes and Heart Disease Management archived on the In It Together Facebook page. 

We also want to thank all DHEC employees who wore red, decorated your space, or both to raise awareness on National Go Red Day on Feb. 4.