04 June 2021
Islanders are being encouraged to book a free hepatitis test following the success of a campaign that began in May.
The Department for Blood Borne Viruses aims to raise awareness for those who are at risk. Worldwide, there are over 325 million people living with Viral Hepatitis, and of these, 290 million are unaware they have it. Viral Hepatitis kills more than 1.5 million people each year.
Nurse Specialist for Blood Borne Viruses, Michelle Mulhall, said: "Since our initial campaign we have had a great response, however, interest from Islanders of different nationalities and under the age of 50 is minimal and there is still a large part of our community that could be at risk.
"There is still a stigma associated with hepatitis which can have an impact on a person's will to test, therefore preventing diagnosis and treatment. All types of viral hepatitis can be controlled or prevented and if diagnosed early, health problems caused by the virus could be prevented. Viral Hepatitis can affect anyone, irrespective of race, age, and gender. As hepatitis is more prevalent in some countries, we need to bear this in mind due to the continued migration of people around the world. This campaign is a great opportunity to not only raise awareness but to stress the importance of being tested and knowing your own status, to prevent transmission and facilitate timely treatment."
Hepatitis can be transmitted through:
- Unprotected sex (Hep B)
- Mother to baby at birth (Hep B)
- Sharing needles and syringes/drug use (Hep B & C)
- Sharing razors, toothbrushes, and clippers with someone infected with Hep C
- Blood to blood contact/bodily fluids
- Contaminated blood products used for blood transfusions before 1991
- Tattooing/piercing with unsterilised equipment.
Islanders that are unsure whether they are at risk or don't know their status can get tested or ask for advice by contacting the Blood Borne Viruses Department on 01534 444319 or by emailing Michelle or Betty at M.Mulhall@health.gov.je or B.Ofirstname.lastname@example.org.