This year at GATS there seems to be a heavy focus on Driver Health and Health Related Issues. The Healthy Trucker Association of America (HTAA) is rolling out their Truckers Against Hepatitis-C campaign. It will be held at booth 23113 in the Health Pavilion Area of the show.
In the U.S. approximately 5.2 million people have been exposed or are infected Hepatitis-C. Approximately 3 out of 4 people do not know they are infected or have been exposed to Hepatitis-C. Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) make up 75% of those infected. Which comes to 1-30 in this group. Truckers are 5 times more likely to have it then any other group.
This is for several reasons. Back before blood was screened the way it is today. Those who served in the military may have gotten infected from blood transfusions, or other medical procedures they received while in the service. Also those who got tattoos or piercings from places that shared needles or ink are at greater risk as well. Today with the screening that blood receives and the better safety practices at both hospitals and tattoo parlors. The risk of getting Hepatitis-C has been greatly reduced.
Most if not all of these infections came from a lack of knowledge of the disease and fast and reliable testing for it. Fortunately today there is a test that allows a person to know in about 20 minutes if they are infected or have been exposed to it. This is all done with just a drop or 2 of blood. If you do receive a positive test for Hepatitis-C medical professionals will be there to answer your questions and discuss options.
A person who has been infected with this disease can take 20+ years to show symptoms. Usually when the symptoms show serious liver damage has occurred. The earlier Hepatitis-C is detected the earlier treatment can be started and prevent liver damage.
In the past the treatments that existed for Hepatitis-C would force the driver to leave the road due to the side effects. New treatments that are available will allow the driver to continue working while receiving treatment.
Road Tested Living as well as Bob Perry the Trucker Trainer join with the HTAA and encourage all drivers to stop and get educated and tested at GATS. The test and information about Hepatitis-C is completely FREE!!! Both Bob and myself will be getting tested at GATS both in support of this initiative, and to show how simple it is.
If you will be unable to make GATS, the HTAA has plans for several events through the rest of 2014 and 2015 to test drivers and inform them about Hepatitis-C. You can watch my blog for future testing dates or contact the for more information.