The Nantasket-Hull Rotary is part of the funding team sponsoring free hepatitis C screening for veterans at the Greater Boston Stand Down event on Friday, Sept. 8.
Hep C screening that utilizes the ORAQuick HCV Rapid Antibody Test delivers results in about 20 minutes. The free testing will be offered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease caused by a virus that can lead to lifelong illness and permanent liver damage, as well as cirrhosis or cancer. Veterans have higher levels of hepatitis C virus infection than the general U.S. population, and many veterans are not aware that they may be infected. In fact, millions of Americans have hep C and don’t know it. They often have no symptoms and can live decades without feeling ill.
New treatments are available that can kill the virus. “Now is the time to stop the spread of hepatitis C and treat patients infected,” said Gregg Brasso, who assembled the nonprofit team sponsoring Friday’s screening. “Our goal is to screen over 6,000 veterans in the next 18 months.”
Brasso is the president of the Weymouth-based nonprofit organization Veterans Voice, Inc. and is the host of Veterans Voice Radio on Marshfield radio station WATD.
The nonprofit has partnered with Hull’s Rotary Club, the VA Boston healthcare system, MGH Military Veterans Partners, OraSure Technologies Inc., and Health Watch Inc. to provide the free health test for 100 veterans during the Boston Stand Down.
The tests will be performed in a tent operated by Health Watch, Inc.
Nantasket-Hull Rotary President Craig Wolfe said the club is “very excited to be part of the first round” of hepatitis C screening. “Let’s get as many Hull veterans as possible to the Stand Down at Government Center in Boston on Friday so Hull vets can lead the way on this health issue,” Wolfe said.
The Greater Boston Stand Down is a one-day event that brings together service providers and local veterans to provide vets with immediate comprehensive and coordinated services in one place.
The event runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Boston City Hall Plaza.
More than 80 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits will provide intensive support to vets of all ages, including:
• job training and an employment fair
• on-site medical and dental care and screening
• experts in female veterans’ services
• mental health and substance use counseling
• clothing and personal-care products distribution
• identification card/license support services from the RMV
• legal assistance
• free haircuts.
Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be available to participants, free of charge, and there’ll be entertainment and on-site child care.
Veterans must bring proof of military service. (DD214 is acceptable.)
The New England Center and Home for Veterans is coordinating the event. For more info, visit nechv.org/standdown.