Four Things You Should Know About Viral Hepatitis:
- Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are all different diseases.
Each type of hepatitis is caused by a different virus and spread in different ways. Hepatitis A (HAV) does not cause a long-term infection, but it can make people very sick. Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) can lead to chronic, life-long infections and cause serious health problems.
- Chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer.
Chronic HBV and HCV can cause serious damage to the liver, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. In fact, more than 60 percent of liver cancer cases are related to HBV or HCV.
- Most people with chronic hepatitis do not know they are infected.
More than four million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis in the United States, but most do not know they are infected. Many people live with chronic hepatitis for years without symptoms or feeling sick.
- Get treated.
Lifesaving treatments are available for chronic HBV and new treatments are available that can cure HCV.
Millions of Americans have chronic viral hepatitis and most of them do not know it. Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19th) is an opportunity to remind people what hepatitis is and how important testing is.
Who should be tested for HBV?
- Pregnant women
- People born in Africa, Asia and other areas with high rates of HBV
- People who have sex with someone who has HBV
- People with weakened immune systems
Who should be tested for HCV?
- Adults born between 1945 and 1965 (need to be tested at least once)
- People who have ever injected street drugs, even if they tried it only once many years ago
- People with certain medical conditions, such as people:
- who got clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
- who were ever on long-term hemodialysis
- with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels (ALT)
- who are HIV positive
- People who have had blood transfusions or organ transplants, including persons who:
- were notified that they got blood from a donor who later tested positive for HCV
- got a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992
- Healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers that had a needle stick, sharps, or mucosal exposure to HCV-positive blood
- Children born to HCV-positive women
Talk to a healthcare provider to find out if you need to be tested for hepatitis! For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/RiskAssessment/
In honor of National Women's Health Week, we're recognizing four Whittier Street residents, all amazing women, who are committed to living a healthy lifestyle. They recently had the chance to take a field trip to the new Daily Table store in Dudley square and the REACH:PHH team was able to pull them aside for a short interview.
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If you haven't visited the Daily Table yet, we recommend that you stop by soon! They offer healthy, affordable foods for low prices and are conveniently located in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods. For more information, please visit http://dailytable.org/.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh is encouraging Bostonians to play a role in curbing the misuse and theft of prescription drugs by dropping off their expired, unused, and unwanted medications on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The kiosk service is free and anonymous, and available at any of the following locations:
- Downtown: 40 New Sudbury St. Boston, MA 02114
- East Boston: 69 Paris St. East Boston, MA 02128
- Roxbury: 2400 Washington St. Roxbury, MA 02119
- Mattapan: 1165 Blue Hill Ave. Dorchester, MA 02124
- South Boston: 101 West Broadway South Boston, MA 02127
- Dorchester: 40 Gibson St. Dorchester, MA 02122
- Back Bay: 650 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02116
- Brighton: 301 Washington St. Brighton, MA 02135
- West Roxbury: 1708 Centre St. West Roxbury, MA 02132
- Jamaica Plain: 3345 Washington St. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
- Hyde Park: 1249 Hyde Park Ave. Hyde Park, MA 02136
This effort is supported by The Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Police Department (BPD) as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured with the right medicine. Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. Remember to take the medicine as directed and never share your medication with others. If it is safe to do so, talk to your sex partner(s) about getting tested for STIs. If your sex partner is infected, it is important to treat them at the same time to prevent re-infection. Having an STI and getting it treated does not protect you from future infections!
Other STIs such as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) aren't curable, but they are treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider to start treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment not only helps you stay healthy but can also reduce your chance of spreading the virus to someone else.
If left untreated, STIs can cause very serious health problems such as:
- Gonorrhea can cause men and women to become infertile (unable to have children)
- Long term infection of syphilis can damage internal organs
- HIV can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)
Having one STI also increases your chances of getting other STIs. So get treated, stay healthy!
To learn more about STIs, visit www.bphc.org/STI.
April 21-28, 2018 is National Infant Immunization Week. Are your children's vaccinations up-to-date?
Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In the 1950's, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died. Today, thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, many healthcare providers have never seen a case of measles.
Vaccines save lives!
Vaccines can protect children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2! It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases.
You can also provide extra protection to your children by making sure those around them are current on their vaccines. When family members and caregivers of children are vaccinated, they are not only protecting their own health from vaccine preventable diseases, but they are also helping to limit the children's exposure to these diseases. This is especially important in the children's first few months of life when they haven't been fully vaccinated.
Talk to your health care provider to make sure you and your children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.
To learn more about vaccines, visit Vaccination Myths and Facts.
El 21 al 28 de abril, 2018 celebramos la Semana Nacional de Inmunización Infantil. ¿Están vacunados sus hijos?
Las vacunas han reducido drásticamente la muerte y la discapacidad infantil causadas por enfermedades prevenibles con vacunas en los Estados Unidos. En la década de 1950, casi todos los niños desarrollaban sarampión y, desafortunadamente, esta enfermedad causo muchas muertes. Hoy en día, gracias a la vacuna contra el sarampión, rubeola y paperas (MMR en inglés), hay muchos proveedores de salud que nunca han visto un caso de sarampión.
¡Las vacunas salvan vidas!
Vacunas pueden proteger a niños de 14 enfermedades graves antes de que cumplan 2 años! A veces es fácil pensar de estas enfermedades son del pasado. Pero la verdad es que estas enfermedades siguen existiendo. Niños en los Estados Unidos pueden-y siguen-contrayendo algunas de estas enfermedades.
También puede proporcionar protección adicional a sus hijos, asegurándose que las personas que los rodeen estén al día con sus vacunas. Cuando los miembros de la familia y cuidadores de niños son vacunados, no sólo protegen su propia salud de las enfermedades prevenibles por vacunación, sino que también están ayudando a limitar la exposición de los niños a estas enfermedades. Esto es especialmente importante en los primeros meses de vida de los niños cuando no se han vacunado completamente.
Hable con su proveedor de atención médica para asegurarse de que usted y sus hijos están al día con sus vacunas.
Para más información sobre vacunas, visite Los Mitos y los Hechos sobre la Vacunación.
Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don't have any symptoms. If you're having sex, getting tested is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and it's the only way to know for sure if you're infected.
Yearly STI testing is recommended for:
- All sexually active men and women under the age of 25
- People who have had unprotected sex
More frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months) is recommended for people at high risk, these include:
- People with multiple partners
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
You should also get tested:
- When you are pregnant
- 3 months after treatment for a sexually transmitted infection
- Every time you have a new partner if you are unsure of the partner's status
All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV and anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
If you're not comfortable talking with your regular healthcare provider about STI testing, find a clinic near you that provides confidential and free or low-cost testing. For a list of free and confidential STI testing clinics in Boston, visit this website. You can also find a testing site near you by calling the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 or visiting https://www.helpsteps.com.
To learn more about STIs, visit www.bphc.org/STI.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak and John Fernandez to the Boston Board of Health as well as Dr. Jennifer Lo as the Boston Public Health Commission's (BPHC) new Medical Director.
Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and John Fernandez, President of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, will join five other board members who serve as BPHC's governing board. Dr. Childs-Roshak, Mr. Fernandez, and Dr. Lo will work to further advance the mission of the City's Health and Human Services Cabinet through BPHC.
"I'm proud to welcome Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, John Fernandez, and Dr. Jennifer Lo to the Boston Public Health Commission team. These experienced healthcare leaders are committed to improving the lives and wellbeing of our residents each and every day. Increasing access to quality care, promoting equity, and providing residents with important information about their health is a large responsibility we have as a City, and I look forward to working alongside them to do this critical work," said Mayor Walsh.
As president and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM), Dr. Childs-Roshak leads the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider in the Commonwealth, providing a wide range of sexual and reproductive health care to over 34,000 patients across Massachusetts and educating over 10,000 people through sexual health education programs. Before joining PPLM, Dr. Childs-Roshak provided primary care to Boston-area residents in Atrius Health's Kenmore practice.
"I am honored to join Boston's Board of Health," said Dr. Childs-Roshak. "Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission have pushed Boston forward and elevated its status as a national leader in public health. I look forward to working closely with Executive Director Valdes Lupi, the BPHC staff, and my fellow board members to create and advance a platform of initiatives that effectively meet the health needs of all Bostonians."
As president of Mass. Eye and Ear, John Fernandez leads one of the nation's largest independent specialty hospitals exclusively dedicated to conditions that impair vision, hearing and other disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, head and neck. Under his leadership, Mass. Eye and Ear has grown significantly and now has 18 patient care sites that deliver world-class care to patients throughout Greater Boston and Providence.
"Boston has a rich history of working on social and environmental factors that impact people's health outcomes," said Fernandez. "I look forward to serving on Boston's Board of Health and working collaboratively with other leaders to promote health equity in our city."
BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, also announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Lo as medical director. Dr. Lo previously served as medical director at the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center, where she implemented behavioral health, family planning, and physician training programs. Prior to that role she served as family team medical director at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Programs, where she led a multidisciplinary team to increase access to health care for homeless families and children in Boston. Dr. Lo is also an instructor of Family Medicine at Boston University's School of Medicine.
"We're very lucky to have a physician with extensive experience in health care and in working in governmental public health join BPHC's executive office," said BPHC Executive Director Valdes Lupi. "We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Lo to her new role as medical director, and Dr. Childs-Roshak and John Fernandez to the Board of Health. Their diverse skills and experience will help us in our efforts to ensure that all Bostonians are able to achieve optimal health."
"I look forward to working with Mayor Walsh, the Board of Health, and Executive Director Valdes Lupi and her team to promote public health programs that advance health equity, strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, and strengthen partnerships between public health and health care," said Dr. Lo.
April 10th is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Did you know that in the United States, more than 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses were in young people aged 13-24 years? Most of those new diagnoses among youth (81%) occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM). Young black and Latino MSM are especially affected. Youth with HIV are the least likely out of any age group to be linked to care and have a suppressed viral load (that is, having a very low level of the virus in the body, which helps the person stay healthy and greatly reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to others). It is important for young people to be provided with the tools they need to reduce their risk of getting HIV. Young people need to understand what HIV is, how it is transmitted, and what they can do to protect themselves.
Safer sex practices
- Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal).
- Condoms made from "natural" materials may protect against pregnancy but NOT HIV or other STIs.
- Limit your number of sex partners.
- Talk with your partner about their status and getting tested.
- Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested.
- Understand that having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can increase the likelihood of unprotected sex.
- Do not share needles or "works" if you are injecting drugs.
- Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Talk to your health care provider about getting tested.
- You should get tested more often if you:
- are a man who has sex with men
- had sex—anal or vaginal—with an HIV-positive partner
- had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test
- injected drugs and shared needles or works with others
- exchanged sex for drugs or money
- have been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- have been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB)
- had sex with someone whose sexual history you don't know
- There are also several free and confidential testing centers in Boston. To find a testing center near you:
To learn more about HIV, visit www.bphc.org/hiv.
During April, organizations across the US host events to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights, and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts. This year, the national SAAM campaign, coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), is celebrating its 17th anniversary with the theme "Embrace Your Voice" to inform individuals on how they can use their words to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual violence before it happens. More specifically, individuals can embrace their voices to show their support for survivors, stand up to victim blaming, shut down rape jokes, correct harmful misconceptions, promote everyday consent, and practice healthy communications with children. NSVRC has developed four key resources for this campaign including fact-sheets, Embrace Your Voice, Everyday Consent, Healthy Communications with Kids, and Understanding Sexual Violence.
BPHC's Family Justice Center is a coalition of co-located programs and agencies working with victims and survivors of sexual assault, commercial sexual exploitation, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse. Below is a partial list of our resources. For more information about our onsite partners, services and professional development opportunities, visit our website.
The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center:
- For some 'Embrace Your Voice' might mean speaking publicly as a survivor, perhaps as a part of the #MeToo movement. For others it might mean supporting a loved one or speaking out about why and how our culture needs to change, or taking action as a bystander to prevent sexual violence.
- If you are a survivor who has been thinking about sharing your experience publicly, we have a new resource for you: Sharing Your Story: A Guide to Think through Your Options.
- The BARCC Walk for Change event on April 22nd
- Upcoming Public Workshops
Children's Advocacy Center:
- The CAC offers trainings on prevention, intervention and treatment & therapy
My Life My Choice:
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers:
The EVA Center:
- A program for women who have experienced sexual exploitation (prostitution, sex trafficking) find solutions to the issues they face and exit the commercial sex industry. For more information visit their website.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Hotline at 1-877-785-2020 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911.