July 28 is World Hepatitis Day.
World Hepatitis Day awareness events took place on Tuesday July 28 in Marlboro, AB featuring a BBQ, games, free giveaways, and information booth. We met many community members and talked about how hepatitis has affected them, their friends, and families. Close to 25 community members, as well as Yellowhead MP, Jim Eglinksi, joined the event and helped us have a successful and fun-filled day in the sun!
One in 12 people worldwide are living with hepatitis B or C – including 600, 000 Canadians – with many unaware they are infected. They may have no obvious symptoms until serious liver damage has occurred. These are chronic, lifelong viral infections that can affect anyone from any walk of life.
While hepatitis is often stigmatized as a disease associated with injection drug use, sexually transmitted infections, or alcoholism; few people realize that it takes only blood-to-blood transmission to pass it on — something as simple as sharing personal hygiene items such as razors and toothbrushes. While HIV dies very quickly outside of the body, viral hepatitis can live for several days.
Hepatitis is also be transmitted by using non-sterile equipment for tattoos, body piercing, hair cutting, injection drugs or medical procedures. Baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1975) may be at risk as a result of unsafe medical procedures and blood transfusions before measures were put in place to control infections in the blood supply in 1992.