If you are new to this blog, we are observing Hepatitis Awareness Month during the month of May. The entire month is set aside to raise awareness of viral hepatitis in the United States. Awareness activities will take place throughout the month, with Saturday, May 19th designated as National Hepatitis Testing Day.

There are many ways to promote awareness among the public and health care providers on viral hepatitis.  Also, there are many levels of opportunities to help spread the word. Today we’ll talk about low effort, effective tools that you can use to raise awareness: social media.

Here are suggestions from one of my heroes, Corinna Dan, R.N., M.P.H.. (Corinna is Viral Hepatitis Policy Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and blogs at HHS.gov.)

  • Join the CDC’s Hepatitis Testing Day Thunderclap. Do this one now; don’t wait until May 19. Thunderclap uses the power of social media to simultaneously spread a message to create a wave or “thunderclap” across many social networks. Help spread awareness among your networks by joining the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis’ Be #HepAware Thunderclap May 19th at 12pm Eastern and inviting others to support the effort through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
  • Follow @cdchep on Twitter to receive information from CDC about hepatitis resources, tools, publications, campaign updates, and events. Use the hashtags #hepatitis, #HepAware, and #HepTestingDay to join the conversation on viral hepatitis.
  • Send health e-cards via email to raise awareness on hepatitis B and Asian Americans and hepatitis C among baby boomers (persons born from 1945-1965).
  • Find Hepatitis Testing Events. Search for a hepatitis testing event in your area or submit your event to the National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) Hepatitis Testing Day Event page.
  • For more tools and information to support your outreach efforts, visit the CDC’s resources for Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day

I’ll end with Corinna’s words, “Working together throughout May and beyond, we can raise greater awareness about the viral hepatitis epidemic, get more individuals tested, diagnosed, and into care, and ultimately improve the health and lives of many Americans.”

What are you doing for Hepatitis Awareness Month? Tweet @hepatitismag.