Tuesday July 28th is World Hepatitis Day. GOSHH (Gender Orientation Sexual Health HIV) based in Davis Street in Limerick City will mark the day by providing information on our Hepatitis C services that are running during this time of COVID 19.
Throughout the world there are over 300 million cases of viral hepatitis and it is estimated that 9 out of 10 people are undiagnosed. This means that they do not know they have it and therefore cannot be treated. Viral Hepatitis is highly contagious, and many people who have been diagnosed have no idea where it came from.
In Ireland there are on average 600 new cases of Hepatitis C every year. It is estimated that 3 out of 5 people in Ireland living with Hepatitis C do not know they have it. The majority of people diagnosed with Hep C in Ireland are between 35 and 45 years of age. As Hepatitis C can be present for years, without symptoms, often it is not until significant damage has been done that people are diagnosed.
The good news is that Hepatitis C can now be cured and the cure is available to everyone who is living in Ireland for free. Hepatitis C treatment is a course of tablets with little or no side effects. It works best if people are able to complete the full course. Hepatitis C can cause extreme tiredness, memory issues, and liver issues. It is mainly transmitted in small drops of blood that are often present in other fluids. It is very resilient and can live outside the body for days.
Ann Mason, manager of GOSHH says “The treatment for Hep C is so effective that Ireland have committed to treating everyone and making Hep C a rare disease by the year 2030. GOSHH is committed to being part of the movement to find, diagnose and treat the missing millions of people who are unaware they are living with Hep C. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can recieve the treatment. It’s really very simple: get tested, get treated and live Hep C free.”
Cynthia Cox, from County Clare had this to say about the treatment, “First and foremost I noticed the emotional relief of not being transmittable to others as well as being able to work through some of the shame that comes with carrying something-for decades. Physically: I have more real energy, my digestion has improved, less aches and pains in my joints, my hormones are re-balancing, and the brain fog is slowly clearing. Other organs and systems that were being stressed by toxic bloods are recovering which I see in things like my skin is clearing, the broken veins on my chest and the little bumps on my arms are gone. Over all , finally getting treated has given me a way to see I can be gentler with myself. “
GOSHH have been providing Hepatitis C tests to people since 2014. The testing service has been steadily growing and is contributing to finding unknown cases of Hepatitis C within the community as well as linking people in with medical care, so they can access the free treatments that are available to everyone who needs them. We will be here and able to test you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we can still provide information, support, and referrals for anyone who needs it.
Call 061314354 to be put in contact with a Hep C support worker, or email email@example.com.
Notes to editors:
In 2018, 589 new HCV diagnoses were notified in Ireland. For further information visit https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/hepatitis/hepatitisc/hepatitiscreports/hepatitisannualreports/
GOSHH provides rapid HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis C testing. The test uses a pin prick on the finger, a drop of blood and the test results are available within 60 seconds. https://goshh.ie/rapidtesting/
HSE information on HCV: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/media/pressrel/hse%C2%A0launches-new%C2%A0hepatitis-c-online%C2%A0information%C2%A0resource%C2%A0on%C2%A0world-hepatitis%C2%A0day-saturday-28th%C2%A0july.html
World Hepatitis Day: https://www.worldhepatitisday.org/
Michelle Tait in the medical independent: https://www.medicalindependent.ie/hepatitis-c-in-ireland-in-2019-and-finding-the-missing-millions/