A new survey of 2,004 people in the UK shows that more than two thirds of the UK population (67%) has limited or no knowledge about hepatitis C. This includes:
- how the virus is acquired (63%);
- how it is treated (72%); and
- symptoms to be aware of (71%);[i]
Underlining the urgent need for more awareness and testing, the survey also shows that 69% of UK people are unaware that you can have hepatitis C without knowing it. 74% of survey respondents also did not know you can have the virus for decades without realising.
Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust said:
“With public awareness of hepatitis C so low, there is a lack of testing within the general public – there may be thousands of people who do not know they are at risk of the virus.
“You can go many years before you experience any symptoms of hepatitis C but the damage the virus can do to your liver as it goes undetected can be life-threatening. Thankfully, hepatitis C can be cured via a short course of tablets.
“If you are concerned about hepatitis C, it’s never been easier to get tested. The at-home testing kit from the NHS will help you to quickly and confidentially find out if you have the virus so that you can start your treatment straight away.”
The survey results have been published to mark European Testing Week, a European initiative which aims to increase testing efforts and promote awareness of the benefits of earlier testing. People in England who have been at risk of acquiring the virus are urged to get a free at-home test via hepctest.nhs.uk.
[i] The research for Preventx was carried out online by Opinion Matters throughout 21/07/2023 to 24/07/2023 amongst a panel resulting in 2,004 nationally representative adults responding. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).