Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Hepatitis Bill Promotes Quicker Testing

Mar 20, 2014

Nearly 200,000 Pennsylvanians have hepatitis C and don’t know it, and new legislation could help them find out.

The bill would require health care providers to offer hepatitis C testing to baby boomers, people born between 1945 and 1965.

Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford), the bill sponsor, said a greater emphasis on testing would save lives.

“By increasing testing opportunities, this legislation will insure that more individuals living with hepatitis C can become aware of their infection status, get available treatment and take steps to prevent transmission,” Baker said.

State Sen. Tim Solobay (D-Washington) wants the commonwealth to become the 21st state to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

E-cigarettes have been marketed as a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes, but a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests they could be a gateway to regular cigarette use.

The study showed 160,000 teens nationwide who never smoked cigarettes before used electronic cigarettes in 2012.

The devices are battery-powered and provide users with doses of nicotine and other additives in an aerosol.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines are one of the only vaccinations that can prevent cancer, but most women, especially black women, are still unlikely to get the shots. This is according to Sonya Borrero, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

A study from Borrero and researchers at the School of Medicine found black women are significantly less likely to receive human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines than white women.

Art Writ / VCU CNS/ flickr

Human Papillomavirus is spread by skin-to-skin contact, can cause genital warts, cervical cancer, genital cancer. Yet it can be easily prevented through a three-shot vaccination process, which the CDC says is underutilized. Dr. Jonathan Pletcher works at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and councils parents and their children about the vaccine and any possible risks.