As today is World Hepatitis Day, Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand CEO Susan Hay says it is important to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and encourage people to get tested if they are at risk.
“Viral hepatitis is known as a ‘silent’ disease because people can live with the virus for decades before noticing symptoms. Often by the time people are diagnosed their liver has already been significantly damaged,” says Ms Hay.
Hepatitis remains the leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver transplantation in the world.
Hepatitis B risk factors:
Hepatitis C risk factors:
Hepatitis B causes inflammation of the liver and is spread through blood-to-blood contact and bodily fluids.
Hepatitis C causes inflammation of the liver and is spread through blood-to-blood contact.
The Hepatitis Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which provides care for people living with hepatitis B through a long-term follow-up programme. Through this programme, the Foundation provides monitoring and follow-up for more than 25,000 people in New Zealand.
The Hepatitis Foundation no longer operates a Hepatitis C Follow-up Programme as patient services are now managed by regional DHBs (District Health Boards). If you think you have hepatitis C or would like to access treatment, please contact your local GP. However, if you have any questions about hepatitis C or need someone to talk to you can call our helpline on 0800 30 20 10.
In 2010 the World Health Organization made World Hepatitis Day one of only four official disease-specific world health days. Millions of people across the world now take part in World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and to call for access to treatment, better prevention programs and government action.
World Hepatitis Alliance
© The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 2016