A staggering 325 million people globally are living with the virus. Across the UK figures suggest that 180,000 people are infected with hepatitis B and 210,000 with hepatitis C. Many people remain unaware that they have the disease, leaving them untreated and at risk of passing it on.
Councillor Judith Grajewski, Executive Member for Public Health at the Local Authority, said: “Getting tested is the first step towards diagnosis and treatment and supporting World Hepatitis Day is an important way to raise awareness so that those most at risk can get tested and receive appropriate treatment.”
Both hepatitis B and C can cause serious liver disease and are mainly spread through contact with infected body fluids. They can be a risk for anyone who has:
- received a blood transfusion before September 1991 or a blood product before 1986;
- shared a needle or other equipment for sharing drugs;
- had medical or dental treatment abroad in unsterile conditions;
- had a tattoo or piercing using unsterile equipment;
- had unprotected sex with someone who has or might have been infected with the virus.
The Hepatitis Trust provides a simple online test to assess your risk for hepatitis C. If you are concerned that you may have been infected by either virus, call your GP to arrange a test.
Hampshire County Council’s commissioned substance misuse service offers testing for Hepatitis B and C. It also offers vaccination for Hepatitis B and referral on to treatment for Hepatitis C.