Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus which is a major cause of liver disease. If it isn’t successfully treated the damage it causes to the liver gets worse and worse, often leading to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Having the virus has effects beyond the liver too, in particular problems with concentration and memory and an increased risk of a wide variety of other complications. Viral hepatitis is the 7th leading cause of death globally, accounting for 1.4 million deaths per year. There are an estimate 37,000 people in Scotland with Hepatitis C. Find out more.
In the 1970s and 1980s the plasma derived clotting products used to treat bleeding disorders such as Haemophilia were 100% infective for Hepatitis C. 478 people in Scotland, who received NHS treatment for their bleeding disorder, were infected. Only 251 of them are alive today. There was a related disaster in people who received blood transfusions. There may still be people who received a clotting factor product or a blood transfusion who have not been offered a test. If you think this might apply to you please contact your GP straight away to arrange a test. Find out more.
In addition to the impact of the virus many people have suffered with traditional treatment regimes, particularly those involving interferon. Serious side effect, including mental health impact, meant that many couldn’t complete treatment. Fortunately, a new generation of Direct Acting Antiviral products have recently become available. They are easier to take, have low levels of side effects, and higher success rates. These advances mean that there is a new opportunity to aim to eradicate Hepatitis C.
Today, on World Hepatitis Day (July 28th), Haemophilia Scotland is taking part in the launch of NOhep, a global movement set up by the World Hepatitis Alliance to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. The movement is calling on people across the world to sign up to the movement and take action to make the elimination of viral hepatitis our next greatest achievement. Find out more.
There are several ways to get involved,
- Sign up as an individual supporter online
- Follow the campaign on Twitter
- Like on Facebook
- Subscribe to the YouTube channel
Haemophilia Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to set an objective of eradicating Hepatitis C in the Scottish bleeding disorders community as an early milestone on the road to total eradication of the virus in Scotland. Scotland already has a world leading reputation in the battle against Hepatitis C. Therefore, we believe we should be one of the first countries anywhere in the world to have a bleeding disorders population who that is free of the virus.