Hepatitis is a disease characterized by the inflammation of the liver. There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Learn about World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is an important day that increases awareness about this condition. It is no exaggeration to say that days like this can help save lives. After all, by increasing awareness, we could end up reaching one person who goes and sees a doctor, and that could be the difference for them!
This is even more so important when you consider the fact that there are nine in 10 people across the world that are living with viral hepatitis and are unaware. There is a lot of misinformation out there about hepatitis. There is even a stigma attached to the condition in some cases. However, there are different types of hepatitis, which impact people in different ways, and this is why raising awareness is so critical!
It is crazy to think that there are more than 290 million people across the world that are living with hepatitis C or hepatitis B and they don’t know about it! Lives are lost and people are infected without knowing because of a lack of information and the need to scale-up in terms of care, diagnosis, and screening. World Hepatitis Day is a day for us all to join together in this effort. There are some great charities, organizations, and individuals doing incredible work to help with this.
The History of World Hepatitis Day
In 2010 the World Health Organization made World Hepatitis Day one of only four official disease-specific world health days, to be celebrated each year on the 28th of July. Millions of people across the world now take part in World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, and to call for access to treatment, better prevention programs, and government action.
There was a group created called the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) which is a patient-led and patient driven non-governmental organization whose membership consists of 230 different organizations from 81 countries all over the world.
There are different themes every year for World Hepatitis Day. These themes are important because they help to coordinate the worldwide response to hepatitis. They also help to strengthen prevention, raise awareness on the different types of hepatitis and the way the diseases are spread, and much more. We definitely recommend taking a look at the theme for each year, as it helps to give you some direction on the different things that you can focus on when it comes to raising awareness, fundraising, volunteering, or anything else that you will be doing on this date. Some of the different themes that have been used over the years include: Prevention of viral Hepatitis. Act now. – More must be done to stop this silent killer. Hepatitis affects everyone, everywhere. Know it. Confront it.
WHY WORLD HEPATITIS DAY IS IMPORTANT
It’s a global epidemic
Hepatitis is not one of those diseases that only affects certain demographics or specific regions in the world; you can get hepatitis anywhere. It’s estimated that about 400 million people are infected by hepatitis, worldwide. You can contract hepatitis through blood contact or sexual intercourse. A mother can pass it to her child. That’s why hepatitis can affect people in places where there’s little information about the impact on unsafe sexual practices or drug abuse. Left untreated, hepatitis can lead to dangerous and sometimes, fatal liver diseases.
We’ve made huge strides
Here’s the good news: over the last 100 years, there’s been considerable progress in preventing and treating hepatitis. There are vaccines for both hepatitis A and B. At an early age, people in developing countries automatically get these vaccines from their doctors. Hepatitis C is easily treated and hepatitis D and E are rare.
But we still have a long way to go
Almost 90% of the people who have contracted hepatitis don’t realize they’re infected. The World Hepatitis Alliance has set a challenging goal to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. With your help, it’s an achievable goal.
WORLD HEPATITIS DAY DATES