Today representatives from Scottish organisations working with people with Hepatitis C gathered outside the Scottish parliament to launch the HepCScot campaign in the run up to World Hepatitis Day on the 28th of July.
We took part because we believe that people with bleeding disorders and Hepatitis C shouldn’t be forgotten in the push to find the estimated 19,500 people in Scotland who have Hepatitis C but don’t know they are infected.
We are making four main points.
- To remind people that 532 people in Scotland were infected with Hepatitis C by being treated with contaminated blood products as part of their NHS treatment. We need to work with other organisations to combat stigma around the infection and make sure everyone has access to the support services they need.
- Many people with a bleeding disorder and Hepatitis C have spend decades enduring the infection as a chronic and life-threatening condition – often undergoing several unsuccessful attempts at treatment. The latest treatment offers much better chances of success so we are calling for it to be offered to all of those with bleeding disorders and Hepatitis C who might benefit.
- Scottish Infected Blood Forum are conducting a scoping exercise on behalf of the Scottish Government to establish the support needs of those infected through blood products and of a similar number of people who were infected through contaminated blood transfusions. We are urging as many people as possible to complete the survey and take part in this exercise.
- Dogstar Theatre have produced an extremely powerful play about the impact of the contaminated blood disaster in Scotland. We would like as many people as possible to see Factor 9 during the Edinburgh Fringe at the Summerhall.
With the Penrose Inquiry expected to report in the Autumn, this year’s World Hepatitis Day couldn’t be more important.