Sunday July 28, 2019 is World Hepatitis Day.
According to the World Hepatitis Alliance:
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
Chronic hepatitis B and C are life-threatening infectious diseases that cause serious liver damage, cancer, and premature death. More than 300 million people are infected with the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis B and C are silent epidemics, hitting children and marginalized populations the hardest which include people who inject drugs, Indigenous Peoples, prisoners, men who have sex with men, migrants and people living with HIV/AIDs.
Globally, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are unaware they are living with the disease, resulting in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease or liver cancer at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.
With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable, but greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is a must, as is access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment.
Worldwide, 300 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions”.