More to know about hepatitis B/C

PEOPLE on the Coffs Coast have a disturbingly low knowledge of hepatitis B and C, according to a national survey conducted by Hepatitis Australia.

National Hepatitis Week kicks of today and the survey shows some scary findings about the lack of education in the public.

According to the data, most people across the country do not know hepatitis C is curable, nor are they familiar with the common symptoms of the diseases.

Eighty to 85 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed around the country did not know hepatitis B and C can cause cancer.

Forty-five per cent wrongly believe hepatitis C can be transmitted by saliva, while 68 per cent mistakenly think it is sexually transmitted.

“Hepatitis B on the other hand is a sexually transmissible infection, yet only 56 per cent of respondents knew this,” president of Hepatitis Australia, Stuart Loveday, said.

More than 80 per cent of respondents feel more public education about hepatitis B and C is needed.

“A government-funded social marketing campaign is desperately needed to address the confusion if we are to stem the 10,000 new infections occurring annually within Australia, improve current treatment rates and enhance the health and well-being of people with viral hepatitis,” Mr Loveday said.

If left untreated, hepatitis B and C can lead to severe liver disease and liver cancer.

National Hepatitis Week runs until May 23.

For more information visit www.hep.org.au



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