Many people 'not aware' of Hep C risk

Up to 50,000 Irish people are at risk from Hepatitis C, it was claimed today.

A giant green letter C will be travelling through Dublin city this week to create awareness.

The awareness initiative is supported by Community Response, Dublin Aids Alliance and UISCE, who provide support on behalf of people with blood-borne viruses.

Hepatitis C is often referred to as a silent epidemic, as most people do not experience any symptoms which can lead to people not being diagnosed until more serious symptoms occur, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Nicola Perry of Community Response said there are a number of myths surrounding Hepatitis.

"I think, for a lot of people, it's that they're not quite sure when they've put themselves at risk, or being quite direct, some people may assume that because it has a lot of associations with IV drug users, that if they haven't use IV drugs, then they're not at risk, she said."

"But there are many other ways the transmission can take place, so people aren't aware of those facts."

As part of the ‘Treat It, Beat It’ campaign, Community Response and Janssen have developed a facility on the Community Response website for people to petition their local TDs urging them to ensure that resourcing of the National Hepatitis C Strategy is a priority in Budget 2015.

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