This year will be the 9th annual World Hepatitis Day – taking place on 28 July, on the same date as the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Blumberg who discovered Hepatitis B.
The whole point of the day is to encourage people to find out the facts about Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C – and by doing this help decrease the stigmas attached to the viruses.
So what is Hepatitis C? Well the infection is transferred through the blood and damages the liver and its ability to carry out essential functions for your body.
It can also affect other parts of the body including the immune system, digestive system and the brain. Around 130-170 million people on the planet have it.
Hepatitis C has been referred to as the ‘silent epidemic’. That’s because where some people will have symptoms straight away others could go up to ten years without knowing anything is wrong.
Thankfully drug treatments have been successful: 40%-50% success for genotype 1 and an even better 80% for genotype 2.
But there is still no vaccine and it’s important people are more in the know about exactly how dangerous hepatitis is and what it does.
If you have the virus, find out more about how you can care for yourself by visiting the Hepatitis C Trust website.
Would you campaign or take part in an event to raise hepatitis awareness? It really works – for years supporters have been campaigning for official recognition from WHO. And in 2010 they got their wish! The official resolution has been passed.
The number one priority is getting information across, so you could set up a stall and talk to your local medical centre about setting up a specially dedicated drop-in clinic on World Hepatitis Day.
Have you heard of the 12 asks? It’s twelve requests to the government that make sure politicians are working to tackle the issue. Scotland was the first government to sign up and Kuwait has since followed suit. So this could be part of your theme for the day!
Promotional materials will soon be available but in the meantime make sure you keep track of updates and go to the World Hepatitis Day website for all the information you need.