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Health Bulletin Fall 2014


Depression is a common but serious mental health disorder. It is caused by genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It can be chronic or recurrent. It can greatly impair your ability to function with daily life. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. However, most people with depression can get better with treatment.


There are many types of depression. Symptoms can include:
  • Continuous sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of guilt or hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or pessimism
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
  • Fatigue or decreased energy
  • Problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains that don't go away

What can I do to get help?

  • See your doctor if you have symptoms of depression
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • If someone is in crisis, Call 911 or take the person to a hospital emergency room right away
Remember: Most of us have days when we feel sad or "depressed". These feelings are usually temporary and should go away in a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes your life and impairs how you function or feel.


The liver is your largest internal organ. It has hundreds of jobs. It takes toxins out of your blood. It delivers nutrients to your body. Alcohol, junk food, and diseases can make your liver sick. Hepatitis C ("hep C") is a virus that is one of the most common forms of liver disease.

Hep C is a "silent killer." You can have it for many years with no symptoms. By the time you have symptoms, you could already have severe liver damage or even cancer. Hep C causes more deaths in the US than HIV, but most people with hep C have never been tested for it!

How could I get hep C?

People can get hep C from being exposed to the blood of someone with the virus. This often happens through needles that have come in contact with infected blood.

Here are some examples of needle exposure:

  • Sharing syringes to inject drugs
  • Getting a tattoo at a party or in jail
  • Getting an accidental needle stick in a health care setting

Here are some ways to prevent needle exposure:

  • Buying clean syringes from a pharmacy
  • Picking up syringes from Prevention Point
  • Getting tattoos only at a licensed parlor
  • Reporting accidental needle sticks immediately

Sometimes you can get hep C from sex, so remember to use a condom!

Should I be tested for hep C?

Ask your doctor for a hep C test if you:

  • Were born between 1945 and 1965. This age group makes up about 75% of infections!
  • Have ever injected drugs (even once)
  • Had sex with someone who has hep C
  • Got tattooed in jail, at a party, or at another unlicensed setting
  • Are a man who has had sex with men
  • Are living with HIV

What should I do if I test positive?

It’s important to get tested! The earlier you find out you have hep C, the more likely you can CURE your infection. That’s right; there are medicines that can CURE hep C! The newest treatments are only a few pills a day. Treatment lasts for three months. Newer treatments have way fewer side effects now than older ones.

Where can I get more information?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are the most-reported diseases in Philadelphia!

Philadelphia is one of the 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of STDs. Young people have the most risk. 15-to-19-year-olds are over three times more likely to have chlamydia or gonorrhea than other age groups. High school students who get an STD triple their risk for HIV later in life.

What are STDs?

STDs are infections you can get by having sex. They are usually spread by vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Some STDs like HPV (warts) and herpes can also be spread by skin-to-skin contact. STDs can affect sexually active people of all ages and backgrounds. Although they can cause serious health problems, most STDs have no signs or symptoms.

You should get tested for STDs at your doctor’s office or a clinic if:

  • You have unprotected sex
  • You have a new sex partner
  • You think you might have an STD

Common STDs
  • HIV
  • Herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Warts (caused by Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV)
  • Syphilis

Signs and Symptoms
  • Genital itching, burning, or discomfort
  • Discharge from your penis or vagina
  • Pain when you pee
  • Pain in your genital area or abdomen
  • Rash, sores, or chancres
  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Protect yourself from STDs

Abstinence is the very best way to prevent STDs. If you are sexually active, the best way to prevent STDs is to use a condom every time you have sex.

Philadelphia has sites all over the city where you can get free condoms. If you are having sex, be sure to get tested for STDs. Learn more about STDs, testing, and free condoms.


An Active Shooter is someone who is trying to kill people in a confined and populated area. Active shooters may use guns or other weapons. There is no pattern to how they chose their victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and happen quickly. Police are required to stop the shooting, reduce harm to victims, and ensure the area is safe. Active shooter situations are often over before police arrive (within 10 to 15 minutes). People must be ready to deal with these situations while they wait for help to arrive.

  • The event is unpredictable and happens quickly
  • Victims are picked randomly
  • Police are needed to end an active shooter situation

What to do: When an Active Shooter is in your area
  • Have an escape plan in mind
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Keep your hands visible
  • If you are in an office, stay there and lock the door
  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors
  • Silence your cell phone or pager
  • Fight as a last resort and only when your life is in great danger
  • Try to stop the shooter
  • Act with physical aggression and throw items at him/her
  • Try to take the active shooter down as a last resort
Call 911 when it is safe to do so

What to do: When Law Enforcement Arrives
  • Stay calm and follow instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands
  • Raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times

Information You Should Provide to 911 Operator or Police
  • Location of the shooter
  • Number of shooters
  • Physical description of them
  • Number and type of weapons they have
  • Number of possible victims

Contact your building management or human resources department for more information and training on active shooter response in your workplace.
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