Whilst coronavirus is keeping us apart physically, we were delighted to see so many people and organisations united in showing their support for hepatitis C elimination and World Hepatitis Day yesterday. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the activities, announcements and articles from this year’s World Hepatitis Day.
NHS Tayside achieves world first elimination
NHS Tayside announced that they have ‘effectively eliminated’ hepatitis C. This was covered by BBC Scotland as well as Drink and Drugs News.
The health board has diagnosed 1,970 people and treated over 1,800 – more than 90% of the estimated prevalence of the virus.
Scotland’s Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “NHS Tayside should be congratulated and recognised for this achievement.”
“The Scottish government remains committed to the elimination of hepatitis C in Scotland by 2024, and we will now work closely with NHS Tayside to understand how their achievement can be replicated in other regions across Scotland.”
Our Chief Executive Rachel Halford told Drink and Drugs News: “Getting such a high proportion of people treated is a huge achievement by NHS Tayside. People who inject drugs often struggle to access treatment due to barriers like stigma around the virus and drug use. NHS Tayside has shown that it doesn’t have to be this way and that everyone can be treated for this virus. No one is ‘untreatable’. If services adapt to patients, everyone can clear the virus and we can make sure we leave no one behind.”
You can listen to Professor John Dillon from NHS Tayside and our Scottish Officer Petra Wright talk to BBC Scotland here (segment starts at 1:22:00)
Statements of support from political leaders
Political leaders from across the UK, including First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Scottish Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick, issued statements for support for hepatitis C elimination. You can read all the statements here.
The Hepatitis C Trust’s Everest Challenge
For World Hepatitis Day, most of our staff alongside some of our wonderful volunteer peers took on the challenge of climbing the equivalent of the height of Everest collectively on different peaks across the UK. They were walking to raise money to support our volunteers and for Mind, the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate and support us, you can do so here.
World Hepatitis Day articles
Activist & writer Philip Baldwin wrote for Gay Times about his diagnosis with hepatitis C and the similarities and differences between the hepatitis C virus, HIV and COVID-19. Philip also wrote a guest blog for our website about the importance of testing.
Our Chief Executive, Rachel Halford, wrote for LocalGov about the role of local government in hepatitis C elimination and the efforts to test and treat people who would otherwise be sleeping rough during the pandemic.
Rachel also called for a re-doubling of efforts to eliminate hepatitis C in an article for Drink and Drugs News.
Drug treatment providers commit to supporting hepatitis C elimination
We were delighted to see the largest drug service providers coming together to reaffirm their commitment to support hepatitis C elimination. You can watch a video of sector leaders talking about hepatitis C elimination here.
Lighting up for elimination
Landmarks across England were lit up in purple to show their support for hepatitis C elimination.
The Hepatitis C Trust’s Facebook livestream
On Sunday 26th July, we held a series of livestreams via Facebook featuring music and talks about hepatitis C. DJ Mr C even managed to fit The Hepatitis C Trust into a rap! You can find videos and talks from the day here.