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August 7th, 2013

Obama on World Hepatitis Day

President Barack Obama

A proclamation by the President of the United States of America:

Each year, we mark World Hepatitis Day to bring attention to a disease that afflicts one in twelve people worldwide. Viral hepatitis is a major cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis in the United States, leading to approximately 18,000 American deaths every year. Outcomes can significantly improve with treatment, but because viral hepatitis can be present without symptoms for decades, most infected Americans do not know they have it. Today, we raise awareness about preventing and treating viral hepatitis, and we renew our commitment to combat this disease in all its forms.

All types of this disease pose serious health threats, and both hepatitis B and C can become chronic infections that lead to liver cancer and liver disease. Vaccines for hepatitis A and B are crucial to preventing new cases. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C, but through early detection and treatment, it is possible to reduce the risk of transmission, avert the worst complications, and in many cases even cure the infection.

Anyone can contract hepatitis, but in the United States it disproportionately affects the African American, Hispanic, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and people born between 1945 and 1965. My Administration is working to raise awareness among communities hardest hit by viral hepatitis, organizing campaigns to prevent new infections, and promoting testing and treatment.

On World Hepatitis Day, let each of us lend our support to those living with hepatitis and do our part to bring this epidemic to an end.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 28, 2013, as World Hepatitis Day. I encourage citizens, Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and communities across the Nation to join in activities that will increase awareness about hepatitis and what we can do to prevent it.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

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