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Hepatitis C

May 18 2009
The 'Face It' campaign The 'Face It' campaign
Campaign launched to combat common virus that 80 per cent of sufferers don‘t know they have As promised, we're covering Hepatitis C this month, because a new NHS campaign is presently under way to increase awareness of this common disease. The 'Face It' campaign was launched in Leicester Square (pictured) during September. Hepatitis C ('hep C') is a virus that can damage the liver. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C. Most people who have Hep C have no signs or symptoms for many years, but can still pass the virus on to others. The virus is only spread through contact with the blood of a person who has Hep C. You cannot catch it through everyday contact such as holding hands, hugging, kissing, or sharing a toilet seat, plates, cups and utensils. However, it is passed on or contracted by the following methods: - Injecting drugs using shared equipment - If you received a blood transfusion before 1991, or blood products like clotting factors before 1986 - Unprotected sex - Having a tattoo or piercing with dirty equipment -If you received medical or dental treatment abroad in countries where Hep C is common -Sharing a razor or toothbrush with someone who may have Hep C - Hep C can also be passed from a mother to her baby, before or during the birth Two hundred thousand people in England are estimated to have Hep C and 80 per cent of those will be unaware they have it, but treatments are getting better, with a drug therapy now available that can cure the infection in about half of the people treated. Your GP will be able to test you for Hep C, as will many drug agencies and all sexual health clinics. For more information, call the Hep C information line 0800 451 451, or go online to Hep C.