Tag Archives: testing

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewer overflow, US mortality

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

Charleston Co. has most flu cases in S.C., DHEC says

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The flu bug is popping up in South Carolina, and while the season appears to be off to a slow start, state health department records show Charleston is leading the state in the number of cases.

Blockage causes sewer overflow into nearby waters, officials say

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Renewable Water Resources said Friday afternoon there was a sanitary sewer overflow in the area near North Pleasantburg Drive and Rutherford Road in Greenville.

The cause of the overflow was determined to be a blockage caused by a combination of grease and rags, which should not be discharged or flushed into the sewers, officials said.

General Interest

What’s Killing Americans? These 2 Things, According to a New CDC Report

Good news: Deaths from cancer and heart disease—by far the two biggest killers of Americans—are on the decline, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as are those related to HIV. But further analysis released by the public health agency Friday highlight two alarming trends for U.S. mortality: significant rises in gun and, especially, drug overdose deaths (with the latter driven by the ongoing opioid crisis in America).

Despite the drop in heart disease and cancer deaths, the overall death rate in the U.S. actually rose in in the year ending mid-2017 compared to a comparable period the previous year.

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.

This week at DHEC

Highlights from this week at DHEC:

Don’t Waste Food

Richard Chesley interviewed with ABC Columbia about our Don’t Waste Food S.C. campaign. Richard pointed out that 38.4 million tons of food are simply thrown away in the United States every year.  To put it another way, 40% of all food processed is simply tossed in the circular file.

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National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

nbhaad-facebook-infographic-1200x1200In observance of  National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7th, we worked with community-based organizations to offer free HIV testing testing events across South Carolina. More than 12,600 African-Americans in our state are living with HIV/AIDS, and thousands more haven’t been tested. For more information about the fight against AIDS in South Carolina, including local HIV testing sites, call DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv .

Gold Star Honor for Tobacco-Free Efforts

teamphotoThis week DHEC was recognized by the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Working Well initiative and Prevention Partners for achieving the highest standard of tobacco-free excellence.

Jen Wright of Working Well visited DHEC to present Director Catherine Heigel and members of our Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control and Worksite Wellness team the Gold Star award for creating a tobacco-free workplace and providing high-quality tobacco cessation programs for employees..

In order for an organization to receive this recognition, it must have a tobacco-free worksite policy, refer its employees to effective quit programs and counseling, provide comprehensive cessation benefits (nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medications) and offer incentives to encourage employees to quit tobacco. These are among several evidence-based components recommended by Working Well and Prevention Partners for comprehensive quit-tobacco systems at worksites.

Cervical Health Awareness Month

By Trenessa K. Jones, DSL
Best Chance Network Director
Division of Cancer Prevention & Control

Cervical Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from cervical cancer, which was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for U.S. women.

While more work remains to prevent and respond to cervical cancer, fortunately the death rate has gone down with the increased use of screening tests.

You may qualify for free screening

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Best Chance Network (BCN), along with its many partners, work to educate the public on the importance of cervical cancer screenings and help those who cannot afford to get screened.

BCN, which is administered by DHEC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Division, offers breast and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to women who have no health insurance or only have hospitalization insurance, who are between the ages of 30 and 64, and who meet certain program and income guidelines. The BCN program partners with more than 450 health care providers in the state to coordinate cancer screenings for these under-served women. The program also offers diagnosis and treatment, data tracking, public education and more.

The work of BCN

Since its inception in 1991, BCN has provided more than 225,000 breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women, assisting nearly 11,000 this past year alone.

According to the National Cancer Institute/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention State Cancer Profile, an average of 190 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer a year, while about 72 women die from the disease every year in South Carolina.  Thanks to an increase in routine Pap smears, cervical cancer rates have dropped drastically in the last 60 years, but South Carolina still ranks 14th in the nation for new cases of cervical cancer and 11th in the nation for cervical cancer deaths.

Cervical cancer symptoms may not be present in early stages.  That’s why routine screenings are so important; when caught and treated early, cervical cancer is highly curable.

“No woman in South Carolina should die from this highly preventable cancer. Regular screenings and follow up care are critical and if found early and treated it can be cured,” said Virginie Daguise, Ph.D., director of DHEC’s Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on BCN.

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.