Hepatitis is a contagious virus that jeopardises the health of the liver – a vital organ which clears toxins from the body – affecting around 2% of the Australian population.
In Australia, liver cancer, largely caused by chronic viral hepatitis, is the fastest increasing cause of cancer death.
Ms Lyn Morgain, Transitional CEO of cohealth – a leading provider of community health and support services in and around Melbourne – said there is a plethora of misinformation surrounding Hepatitis, including that it is an illness only experienced by injecting drug users.
“People who share needles are at significant risk of exposure to Hepatitis and can reduce this risk by using new syringes. In the broader community exposure to the disease can occur when having tattoos/ pedicures/ manicures with unsterile equipment, and sharing toothbrushes/ razors with an infected person”, she said.
“For World Hepatitis Day, cohealth is running a number of educational events to assist people to be proactive in looking after themselves and their liver, whether this is to reduce risk of Hepatitis via awareness of risks and/or vaccination, gain diagnosis, or manage their health while living with Hepatitis.
“Hepatitis Day and Week provide a call to action to anyone in the community to visit us, chat with our health workers, learn more about Hepatitis and how it is transmitted, to find out what they can do to minimise risk, and ask questions about vaccination, testing and diagnosis, disease management and treatment”, Ms Morgain said.
“Our health workers can dispel the myths and misconceptions about Hepatitis, respond to individual concerns”, she said.
“We are calling on the community to love your liver”, Ms Morgain said.
What: Health worker available for people to walk in and talk about Hepatitis respond to questions, and provide advice at cohealth Footscray – 215 Nicholson Street:
10am – 12pm Monday 28 July
2.00-4.00pm Thursday 31 July
Presentation on hepatitis B & C prevention & treatment for the Vietnamese community:
11am – 1pm, Sunday 20 July
Vietnamese Evangelical Church, 45 Pickett Street, Footscray
For more information about Hepatitis contact Hepatitis Victoria: 9380 4644 or 1800 703 003