The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is raising awareness about World Hepatitis Day tomorrow.

The health unit says this day takes place every year on July 28th to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and influence real change. Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year which is more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria, according to the health unit. Hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause two in every three liver cancer deaths across the world.

The health unit also says it is a global epidemic that can affect millions of people without them even being aware. Around the world,  90-percent of people living with hepatitis B and 80-percent living with hepatitis C are unaware they are living with the disease, which could result in developing fatal liver disease or liver cancer at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others. The health unit adds, without a massive scale-up in diagnosis, treatment rates will fall, infection rates will rise and the opportunity to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 will be lost.

The health unit says, with their global partners, they join the quest in finding the “missing millions” and support these initiatives:

  • Know the facts (general public and health care provider education)
  • Get tested (the link with clinics the health unit offers can be found here)
  • Distribution of single use substance using equipment
  • Prevention of health care acquired infections through infection prevention and control measures
  • Increase access to low barrier and low cost treatment medicines