INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Legion is joining forces with AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, to launch TAKE ON HEP C, a nationwide movement to bring free hepatitis C (hep C) antibody testing to veterans and their communities. Hep C education and testing are a priority for The American Legion because it is one of the most significant health concerns facing veterans today.
Kicking off at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Saturday, August 4, the TAKE ON HEP C tour bus will serve as a mobile veteran outreach center along the tour route offering free hep C antibody testing with same-day results. American Legion Service Officers will also be available to provide free, expert assistance with VA benefit claims for veterans and their families. Veterans and the community at large will be able to receive valuable educational resources to help them learn about the disease, understand their risk factors, get tested for free and be energized to TAKE ON HEP C. Visit legion.org/hepC for a complete list of dates and locations.
As the nation's largest veterans service organization, The American Legion is dedicated to addressing issues that affect veterans. One out of every 20 veterans enrolled with the Veterans Health Administration have hep C, more than three times the infection rate of the general U.S. population. Potential blood-to-blood exposure during military service, receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992 and working in health care settings elevate the risk for veterans. Sharing personal items such as razors or toothbrushes with someone who has hep C or receiving tattoos or body piercings in unregulated settings can also pose exposure risks. All veterans should know their risk factors, get tested for hep C, and learn their results so they can talk with their doctors about next steps.
"Since 2015, AbbVie and The American Legion have been working together to raise awareness of hepatitis C among the veterans community," American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan said. "A simple hep C antibody test is the critical first step in making sure our veterans receive the care they need and deserve. We are grateful to have an industry leader like AbbVie as a national corporate alliance, joining The American Legion on the frontlines of this disease affecting veterans."
The American Legion will raise awareness of TAKE ON HEP C through events, publications and direct outreach to veterans through its network of Department Service Officers.
Veterans can also learn about the disease, exposure risks, symptoms, and testing information at legion.org/hepC.
About Hepatitis C Hepatitis C is a disease that affects the liver and is caused by the hep C virus. Approximately 3.4 million people in the United States are thought to have chronic (long-lasting) hep C, making it the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the nation. Hep C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the hep C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hep C generally progresses slowly, over the course of 10 to 40 years. It attacks and damages the liver, killing liver cells in the process. As a result, scar tissue forms, a process called fibrosis. For about 10 to 20 percent of people infected, hep C can eventually lead to scarring of the liver (also called cirrhosis). Although some people will experience symptoms, about 80 percent of people with acute hep C do not have any symptoms.
About The American Legion The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with nearly 2 million members in 12,875 posts across the nation. Chartered by Congress in 1919, The American Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring wholesome community programs, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security and continued devotion to servicemembers and veterans. Learn more at legion.org.
About AbbVie AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: Immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.