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USM Chapter of Student Veterans For America Co-Sponsoring Hepatitis-C Testing for Local Military Veterans on Sept. 27

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 10:36am | By: Van Arnold

Many military veterans are not aware that they could be infected with the Hepatitis-C virus. One simple, free test can provide the answer.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, the Mississippi Community Veterans Engagement Board, in coordination with the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families Student Veterans of America, will offer free Hepatitis-C testing to military veterans.

The testing will take place from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m at the Hattiesburg VA Community Based Outpatient Care Facility located at the Merit Health Wesley Hospital Tower B (5003 Hardy Street Suite 402). Testing is no-cost to individuals enrolled in the VA Health Care System and veterans not enrolled in VA Health Care are encouraged to enroll, and take advantage of screening to include potential treatments. Veterans should bring with them a copy of their DD Form 214 and a valid picture identification card.

“The MS VA has over the last two years conducted two Hepatitis-C testing events for the purpose of identifying veterans who may have the disease. Both events have been marginally successful; however, we can do better,” said Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army-ret.) Jeff Hammond, who serves as the director of USM's Veterans Center. “It is imperative that we get the word out, so that our military veterans can take advantage of this terrific program.”

Hammond notes that Hepatitis-C is curable and across the State of Mississippi Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities are making tremendous progress in identifying, treating and curing veterans afflicted with the disease. The VA has conducted extensive studies with new drug regimens for Hepatitis-C resulting in “remarkably high” cure rates among patients in VA's national health care system.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contaminated blood. The virus is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, needle-stick injuries in healthcare, and transfusions.

The USM Student Veterans of America are working as co-sponsors of the Sept. 27 event and will offer free transportation, and support (to include refreshments) for local community veterans planning to participate in the testing. Transportation arrangements can be made for travel to/from the Wesley Medical Center VA Clinic by calling 601-264-4629.

If you are not enrolled in VA health care and are an eligible Veteran, VA staff will be on site to initiate enrollment, or Veterans may call 855-574-7296 to complete an enrollment application, or visit your nearest VA medical center or clinic. You can also enroll online at