Hepatitis – what’s the campaign about?
It is estimated that over half a million people in the UK are living with hepatitis B or C without knowing it.
In August 2010 the RPS and the Hepatitis C Trust ran a campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C and B virus. The campaign called on PCT’s to introduce testing in pharmacies to ensure the early diagnosis of the disease, which could save thousands of lives.
The campaign used a hugely successful pilot in the Isle of White, as an example of the role that pharmacists can have in testing for Hepatitis.
The Hepatitis C Trust funded by the Department of Health offered free training to pharmacists to provide pharmacy-based hepatitis testing services across England.
Risk factors for hepatitis B & C
- Receiving a blood transfusion / blood products / organ transplantation prior to 1991
- Current IV drug use / past IV drug use (including steroids, even once and sharing any injecting equipment)
- Current sniffing or smoking cocaine / past sniffing or smoking cocaine (sharing pipes, notes or straws)
- Unprotected sex – hepatitis B not C
- Tattoos / piercings/ Acupuncture (in unregistered premises or with possibly unsterile equipment or with needles that were not new)
- Regularly shared razors or toothbrushes (with a person who is known to have hepatitis B or C or may have been at risk, see risk factors above)
- Born in a high risk country (Asia, Africa, South America, Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East)
- Medical or dental procedures in a high risk country (Asia, Africa, South America, Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East)
- Sharps injury (may have been in connection with job if they work in a healthcare setting)
- Contact sports, fights and a human bite (where they may have come in contact with another person’s blood)
For more information about Hepatitis C please visit http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/
The scale of the problem
Have you ever felt under the weather but the doctor has been unable to diagnose what is wrong with you?
Have you ever shared your partner’s toothbrush or borrowed your friend’s razor? It is possible that you could be suffering from a disease which often goes untested.
It is estimated that over half a million people in the UK are living with hepatitis B or C without knowing it. The Hepatitis C Trust with the support of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling on health services to introduce testing in pharmacies to ensure the early diagnosis of the disease, which could save thousands of lives.
As a result of the campaign, an increased number of PCTs got in touch with the Hepatitis C Trust to ask for more information about commissioning pharmacy testing service.
The media campaign raised awareness of the health implications to patients if the hepatitis C and B virus go undetected, by featuring in 6 TV news channels including BBC Breakfast, BBC London and Sky news with a total of 76 repeats.
The campaign was also reported in 22 regional radio stations, 15 online articles including the Independent and Guardian online as well as a print article in the Guardian.