“It is closer than you think” is the theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day.
The day was first launched in 2008 by World Hepatitis Alliance with the purpose to increase awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis. There are approximately 240 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B, and 150 million people chronically infected with hepatitis C in the world today. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver which leads to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
This year’s theme was chosen to highlight the fact that, around the world, hepatitis is still unknown, undiagnosed, and untreated. This July, the World Hepatitis Alliance is attempting a world record by having the most people performing the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” actions in 24 hours at multiple venues around the world.
For a long time hepatitis was thought to be incurable. The latest research, however, says that 80% of hepatitis C patients see a cure within six months or a year of starting treatment. Things are not always simple because hepatitis presents its self in various subtypes, but research has made significant progress in the recent decade.
Apart from promoting research and raising awareness of the disease, the main objective of World Hepatitis Day is setting straight misconceptions about the disease. Hepatitis C, for example, is only transmitted blood to blood, so one can not get it by touching people, from sharing utensils, or so on. Because hepatitis around the world is largely ignored, many false impressions, such as fears of it’s contagiousness, still prevail.
For more information, visit the World Hepatitis Alliance web page.
Also in July: