July 28th is World Hepatitis Day. It is celebrated around the world to raise awareness about viral hepatitis; promote change in reducing transmissions; and improve access to testing, treatment and care. In May of 2016, the World Health Assembly implemented the first ever Global Strategy for Viral Hepatitis. The Global Strategy encourages all countries to work together towards the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by the year 2030. It is very important that awareness about viral hepatitis, transmission and treatment is promoted within our communities, because when we are better informed we can take better action to help ourselves stay healthy and live longer.
Viral hepatitis affects 400 million people worldwide; this is over 10 times the number of people living with HIV. About 1.4 million people die each year from hepatitis (also more than from HIV). Approximately 780,000 people die every year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus is the leading cause of liver cancer and it disproportionately affects marginalised populations such as migrant communities with origins in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Experts believe that almost half of the people living with hepatitis B in Australia are undiagnosed and/or unaware of their hepatitis B status.
This year, PEACE Multicultural Services has held a number of events with various community groups to help spread awareness about hepatitis B. These events focus on people knowing their status and taking part in the care and follow up system. Please check the World Hepatitis Week Calendar for a full list of events.