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World Hepatitis Day July 28

Illustration for article titled World Hepatitis Day July 28

"Shockingly 500 million people worldwide is living with either chronic hepatitis B or C. While this is far higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer, awareness is inexplicably low and the majority of those infected are unaware." Get tested!


What is World Hepatitis Day?

"World Hepatitis Day is an annual event that each year provides international focus for patient groups and people living with hepatitis B and C. It is an opportunity around which interested groups can raise awareness and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment."


Why is it important?

"The World Hepatitis Alliance hopes that World Hepatitis Day will prompt people to think about the huge scale of viral hepatitis infection globally, about whether they may be at risk (and if so, to get tested) and also about how to avoid becoming infected. The long-term objective of the campaign is to prevent new infections and to deliver real improvements in health outcomes for people living with hepatitis B and C."


When is it?

"Following the World Health Assembly in May 2010, it was agreed that World Hepatitis Day would be recognised annually on 28 July.


July 28 was chosen to mark the birthday of Professor Baruch Blumberg, awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in discovering the hepatitis B virus. He said: ‘It's good to know that my birthday will be remembered in this unusual and unexpected way. We never thought this would happen when we were studying a strange protein from Australia.'"

* Quotes & information courtesy of worldhepatitisalliance.org *

Getting Tested

A simple blood test is all you need in order to be checked for Hepatitis.

Where can I get tested for Hepatitis?

Your family physician, local health unit/clinic, STI clinics, and local AIDS societies all offer the simple blood test needed to test for hepatitis. Remember! Hepatitis isn't just a problem amongst drug users. It's a sneaky little bugger, and can be acquired from sex, improperly sterilized tattoo/piercing equipment, and sharing of razors, to name a few. So get checked!


I wanted to bring light to this important issue because as some of you are aware, I am a recovering IV drug user. I have seen how rampant hepatitis can be amongst the drug community. I've heard people laugh and joke about having/contacting it, seen people who are infected refer to themselves as clean because it's 'no big deal', and watched many people needlessly put themselves at risk for contacting it. Yet testing and avoidance are so simple! Even if you do test positive, treatments are available, and you can learn ways to minimize the risk of infecting others.

I consider myself lucky to have made it out of addiction hell without contacting any diseases. But many do not. Even if you're not sharing needles; if you're having sex, get piercings/tattoos, or share/d razors out toothbrushes, or even if you're not - GET TESTED! Hepatitis can be aquired many different ways. Take time out this month to visit your local Doctor or clinic. Hepatitis can be prevented. Treatments are available. Know your status.

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