H.E.A.L.S of the South
Our goal at H.E.A.L.S is to expand awareness about liver health through educational programs, support groups, literature, testing, counseling and public speaking – especially Hepatitis C. For those already diagnosed, our goal is support, mentoring programs, and written resources. We strive to spread information about hepatitis C to emphasize the importance of dealing with this neglected health issue.
Founded in 2000, H.E.A.L.S. is a non-profit organization whose goals are to expand awareness surrounding liver health through educational programs, support groups, literature, testing, counseling and public speaking. We target various populations with special focus on young people, minorities, veterans and the prison population. By educating the public, we hope to aid in the prevention of hepatitis in all its forms. We encourage hepatitis testing for high-risk individuals and provide a free hepatitis C test, counseling and linkage to care. For those already diagnosed, our goal is to provide support through our mentoring programs and promote participation in our support group. We strive to provide the most up-to-date information about hepatitis C and emphasize the importance of taking the necessary steps to combat this seriously and often neglected public health issue. H.E.A.L.S. members assisted in developing both the National Viral Hepatitis Strategic Plan and the Georgia Viral Hepatitis Strategic Plan by attending national as well as regional meetings to help establish and promote the plans. In 2004 and 2008, we compiled and produced two Georgia Hepatitis C Handbooks. The handbooks are widely distributed and available to anyone either online at our website or hard copies are mailed to anyone who requests them. We have organized and participated in numerous Georgia and Florida Hepatitis Awareness Days at the Capitals in Atlanta and Tallahassee where we educated policy-makers about hepatitis C and the need for access to testing, care and treatment. H.E.A.L.S. has hosted and participated in statewide
hepatitis C testing events throughout Florida and Georgia as well as educational booths at health fair location venues in both states. We have appeared on several radio talk shows that included question and answer segments in Atlanta, GA and Moultrie, GA. We have collaborated with many national hepatitis advocacy groups on a variety of projects and are active members of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. Since our inception in 2000, H.E.A.L.S has helped hundreds of patients through outreach activities, in-person meetings and conferences as well as utilizing Internet networks and various forms of correspondence. We are especially proud of the local support group we facilitate and our ability to disseminate information about new and effective HCV treatment options in an effort to educate current and future patients. Our distribution capabilities include this information as well as educational and prevention pamphlets and diet and overall health care for non-responders.