A proclamation is an official designation of a day or event that can be used as a tool for gaining public recognition. Proclamations can come from any level of government, including governors, mayors, county executives, state legislatures, municipalities, counties, cities, or towns, and carry the full endorsement and support of the government entity that issues the proclamation. You can request a Hepatitis Awareness Month and/or national Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19) proclamation to be issued in your community.
How to Get a Proclamation Issued
Contact your local government official’s communications office to identify what information and action is needed to designate May as Hepatitis Awareness Month and/or May 19th as Hepatitis Testing Day in your community. You may be asked to share a draft proclamation or information on hepatitis awareness and testing so that they can determine whether or not they will issue a proclamation and, if so, what it will say.
How to Use a Proclamation
Once a proclamation is issued, there are many ways to share and promote it, as part of and in support of your ongoing Hepatitis Awareness Month/ Testing Day efforts. Below are just a few ideas to get you started.
Reach out to your local media
Send a press release or incorporate information on the proclamation into a press release for your local media. Announcing the proclamation can help bolster the “newsworthiness” of your release and may help to get more attention, from reporters and others, for your organization’s activities.
Hold an event
If you’re holding an event or activity, use it as an opportunity to announce and promote the proclamation. Invite reporters and local health organizations by sending a media advisory and distributing printed copies of the proclamation at an event during Hepatitis Awareness Month and/or on Hepatitis Testing Day. You can also have the proclamation enlarged to display at a news conference, event, or in your office.
Distribute the proclamation
Send the proclamation to local health organizations, community leaders and others, and encourage them to display the proclamation in their offices and on their websites. Post the proclamation to your own website, newsletter, and socialize it on your social media properties including Facebook and Twitter.
Key Facts to Include in a Proclamation
Following are sample key facts that you could include in a proclamation in support of Hepatitis Awareness Month/ Testing Day.
- Millions of Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected.
- Viral Hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.
- People with hepatitis B and hepatitis C have the greatest risk of liver cancer. In fact, more than 60 percent of liver cancer cases are caused by hepatitis B or C.
- Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine.
- People who get hepatitis A may feel sick for a few weeks to several months but usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage.
- Since the hepatitis A vaccine was first recommended in 1996, cases of hepatitis A in the United States have declined dramatically.
- Unfortunately, in recent years the number of people infected with hepatitis A has been increasing because there have been multiple outbreaks in many jurisdictions across the United States.
- Recent outbreaks of hepatitis A have primarily been from person-to-person contact, especially among people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and men who have sex with men.
- An estimated 862,000 people are living with hepatitis B in the U.S.
- Approximately 1 in 12 Asian Americans has hepatitis B.
- Nearly 2 in 3 people with hepatitis B do not know they are infected.
- People with Hepatitis B often have no symptoms.
- Left untreated, 1 in 4 people with hepatitis B develop serious liver problems.
- CDC recommends all people born in regions of the world where hepatitis B is common and other adults at risk get tested for Hepatitis B.
- An estimated 2.4 million people are living with hepatitis C in the U.S.
- Most people living with hepatitis C do not know they are infected.
- Many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without having symptoms or feeling sick.
- Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage and liver failure.
- Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.
- CDC recommends all people born from 1945-1965 get tested for hepatitis C.
In addition to this type of statistical information that communicates the seriousness of hepatitis as a public health issue, government offices may also ask you for information such as:
- A description of your organization, including when it was founded, what services you provide, who you serve in the community, etc.
- Special efforts, programs or initiatives that your organization is leading during Hepatitis Awareness Month and/or for Hepatitis Testing Day
- What impact you’ve had in your community, your track record of success