Tag Archives: HIV

DHEC in the News: HIV treatment, swim advisories, WIC in Orangeburg

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

Stigma preventing thousands with HIV from seeking treatment in SC

(Greenwood, SC – Index Journal) With modern treatment, HIV is no longer a death sentence, but McLendon said the shame surrounding the virus is more deadly than the disease itself. As of 2015, 18,340 people in South Carolina had been diagnosed with HIV, but about 6,235 of them had not received any form of treatment, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. [Elizabeth] McLendon said because many people live with the virus without knowing it or are never formally diagnosed, the number of people not receiving treatment is likely higher. Particularly in rural areas, such as Greenwood County — where there were about 82 people diagnosed with HIV as of 2014, according to AIDS VU — McLendon said the actual number of infected people is likely much larger.

Swim advisory issued for Saluda River because of sewage discharge

(Lexington County, SC – The State) An official swim advisory was issued Sunday, after water quality tests from portions of the Saluda River, near Saluda Shoals Park, showed high levels of bacteria, the Congaree Riverkeeper said Sunday.

The state standard for bacteria is 349, and the sample taken from the river Saturday registered 980.4, Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler said. Such levels could make swimmers ill.

A wastewater discharge from the Friarsgate Wastewater Treatment facility late last week resulted in the increased bacteria level in the water, the riverkeeper said. State health officials had issued a caution to swimmers earlier in the weekend before a formal advisory was issued Sunday with results of water quality tests.

Sewage spill doesn’t stop summer fun at Catawba River

(Rock Hill, SC – The Herald) As of Saturday, Landsford Canal State Park, a popular recreational area in South Carolina about 45 miles south of Charlotte, had posted advisories against boating, wade fishing and swimming in the water, the Charlotte Observer reported. The advisories are posted at the entrance to the park as well as bathrooms and fence posts.

A notice was also posted at the Catawba Indian Nation landing, according to DHEC.

The department states: “DHEC has performed modeling which indicates that the spill should pass downstream of the Landsford Canal and Catawba Indian Reservation landings by Monday evening. Based on this information, we will be able to recommend removal of the notices Wednesday morning.”

An update on the Habersham boil water advisory

An advisory for Habersham residents to boil their water was lifted on Friday.

The precautionary advisory was issued on Thursday by the Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to a BJWSA news release sent out late Friday afternoon. The groups announced on Friday that the latest water sample analyses showed the water in the area was free from bacteria and is safe to consume.

Head Start making impact; OCAB director seeking to enroll more children

(Orangeburg, SC – Times & Democrat) Head Start…participates in USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, which provides increased access to foods grown from local farmers.

“We applied for those funds to actually purchase fresh fruits and vegetables (from local farmers) to feed the kids. And it’s more to it than that. Children will learn that corn doesn’t come in a can, but they actually learn how food is grown. It helps the local economy, too,” Wright said, noting that children actually participate in food preparation by planting seeds and watching fruits and vegetables grow in their classrooms.

Stroman said the state Department of Health and Environmental Control has implemented a nutrition initiative within the Head Start program. Children are given nutrition lessons and activities, some of which are sent home to parents.

“We also have a certified dietician and nutritionist that approves all of our menus so that they are aligned with the USDA requirements and good healthy eating patterns,” she said.

Stroman said the Head Start program is also partnering with the state DHEC’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office to have mobile units come out to its sites to make sure parents’ WIC certifications stay up to date.

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.

World AIDS Day 2016: Get tested

World AIDS Day is December 1, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging South Carolinians to get tested.

“More than 18,300 individuals are currently living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina,” said DHEC Director of Health Services Lisa Davis. “Early detection through testing for HIV remains essential to successfully identifying and treating the disease and is critical to preventing new infections.”

“Most people in the early stages of HIV infection have no symptoms,” said Davis. “Early diagnosis can link people to services that will help them stay healthy longer, benefit most from treatment, reduce costly hospital visits, and help prevent transmission to others.”

Get tested for free

DHEC clinics provide HIV testing for free or at a reduced cost depending on the client’s insurance coverage or ability to pay throughout the year. On December 1, in recognition of World AIDS Day, free HIV testing will be offered at DHEC clinical service sites. Find a health department near you at www.scdhec.gov/health/publichealthclinics.  worldaidsdaybox

“DHEC continues to work closely with our partners to promote routine HIV testing for early diagnosing and delivering targeted services to those most in need,” said Davis. “Through our clinics and the partnerships with community providers, testing in 2015 helped diagnose and link 345 people to HIV medical care who may have otherwise not known their status until much later.”

“In the fight against HIV, education and early detection is our strongest weapon,” said Carmen Julious of Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, a DHEC community partner that provides targeted testing. “Advancements in HIV medications and treatments continue to help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives, but patients can only benefit from treatment by learning their HIV status as soon as possible, by being tested, and then being linked into a care program.”

Learn more

For more information about HIV testing, as well as local HIV testing sites, call DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/HIV.