Springfield, IL … Yesterday, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 214 which designates next month as “Hepatitis C Awareness Month. The initiative, which was led by State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), received unanimous support as it continues to shine light upon a disease which, up until recently, received very little attention.
“Hepatitis C has been affecting people for decades. However, due to a lack of awareness, there is large segment of the population that is considered at-risk of having unknowingly contracted the virus,” explained McAuliffe. “Hepatitis C became known as the ‘Silent Epidemic’ due to a general lack of knowledge of the at-risk groups and treatment options, and in recent years, the medical community has identified veterans of the Vietnam-era and anyone born between the years of 1945 and 1965 to be at increased risk of carrying the virus.”
McAuliffe has been a leader in tackling awareness, treatment and prevention issues for the Hepatitis C virus since 2013 when he pioneered the creation of the Hepatitis C Task Force in Springfield. The task force, which was the first of its kind in Illinois, was inspired by his own personal story of how he saw the effects of the disease on close family members. Since its creation, the bipartisan task force members have successfully recommended thoughtful legislation. The group was recently recognized by the House for their positive work by receiving an extension to continue their work until 2017.
“I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of those currently living with Hepatitis C and also those who are still unaware that they may be carrying the virus. We are making some great strides in increasing the awareness, prevention and treatment of Hepatitis C, something that was never done in the past,” continued McAuliffe. “The month of May, in its designation as ‘Hepatitis C Awareness Month’, will serve as a reminder and an inspiration for the task force and the medical community as we work toward our common goals.”
State Representative Michael McAuliffe has been the Chairperson of the Hepatitis C Task Force since its inception.