400 million people are living with Hepatitis B or C worldwide. Every year 1.4 million people die from viral Hepatitis and yet all of these deaths could be prevented; through better awareness and understanding of how we can prevent Hepatitis we could eliminate this disease.
Viral Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different Hepatitis viruses, Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, each with their own symptoms, causes and cures or treatments.
The most common of the viruses in England is Hepatitis C. This can be found in the blood and, to a much lesser extent, the saliva and semen or vaginal fluid of an infected person. It is particularly concentrated in the blood, so it is usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. In England, its most commonly spread through sharing needles to inject drugs, which account for 9 out of 10 cases.
Hepatitis C often causes no noticeable symptoms, or symptoms that are mistaken for the flu, so many people are unaware they are infected. Around one in four people will fight off the infection and will be free of the virus. In the remaining three out of four people, the virus will stay in their body for many years. This is known as chronic Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C can be treated with a combination of medicines that stop the virus multiplying inside the body. These usually need to be taken for several months. Using the latest medications over 90% with Hepatitis C could be cured.
It’s really important to raise awareness about lifestyles that increase the likelihood of you contracting the Hepatitis viruses:
- Drug taking
- Tattoos with unsterilized equipment
- Unprotected sex
- Drinking unsanitary water
The World Hepatitis Alliance has created three toolkits to help you plan for World Hepatitis Day. Learn how to get involved in the day, how to reach more people with your campaign, and get tips on running your own World Hepatitis Day event to raise awareness.
For more information visit http://worldhepatitisday.org/en/learn-the-facts