Right: WE ARE committed to prevent infection and eliminate hepatitis. #ShowYourFace
MAYVILLE, N.Y.:--World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is a unique occasion when patients, civil society, the general public and governments come together and unite to tackle viral hepatitis. It is the only day of the year dedicated to eliminating viral hepatitis, so let’s make the most of it! Your involvement makes a real, noticeable difference to levels of public awareness and considerably boosts government action.
WHD takes places every year on July 28 and brings the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. One of just four disease-specific global awareness days officially endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), WHD unites patient organizations, governments, medical professionals, civil society, industry and the general public to boost the global profile of viral hepatitis.
The elimination of viral hepatitis is not just a public health goal – it is an individual goal for millions of men, women and children across the world. Hepatitis is relevant to everyone, everywhere in the world; helping to eliminate it is something we can all support. Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses, hepatitis A, B, D, D, and E. To find out more about the different types of viruses, visit www.worldhepatitisday.org/node/34 .
Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year – that’s as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Together, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world. Viral hepatitis is not found in one location nor amongst one set of people; it is a truly global epidemic that can affect millions of people without them even being aware.
Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status. This can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others. With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable, but greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is a must, as is access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment.
Chautauqua County Director of Health and Human Services, Christine Schuyler, reminds us that, “Vaccines are available to prevent infection from hepatitis A and B; however, there is not a vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Hepatitis C infection is prevented by avoiding direct contact with blood. Anyone born from 1945-1965, as well as anyone else at risk, should get tested for hepatitis C.”
The Chautauqua County Department of Health offers hepatitis C testing for anyone at risk. To set up an appointment, or for more information about this disease, call 1-866-604-6789. For additional information, and to take a 5-minute hepatitis risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) and get a personalized report, visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessment/index.htm .
The elimination of viral hepatitis has now been firmly put on the map. At the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, 194 governments adopted WHO’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, which includes a goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C in the next 13 years. The community responded by launching NOhep, the first ever global movement to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
On WHD 2017, we can build on this momentum and accelerate progress towards achieving the goal of elimination by 2030.
#ShowYourFace is a personalized photo campaign highlighting that hepatitis is relevant to everyone, everywhere in the world. Human faces are accompanied by I AM statements, powerful personal messages that aim to make people feel empowered, personally connected, and understand their role in elimination.