Hepatitis can’t wait: urging community action to eliminate hepatitis B

Hepatitis can’t wait: urging community action to eliminate hepatitis B

Every year on 28th July, World Hepatitis Day is observed to raise global awareness of hepatitis and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Sydney Local Health District is reminding local communities of the importance of hepatitis B testing for early diagnosis.

“Testing for hepatitis B can’t wait. Many people in our community are still unaware they may be living with chronic hepatitis B,” said Professor Benjamin Cowie, director of the Australian WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Doherty Institute.

“Without care and treatment, hepatitis B can lead to liver cancer. Still in 2022 worldwide, a person dies every 30 seconds from a hepatitis related illness. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are the key to prevent these tragic outcomes. The only way to find out whether you have hepatitis B is to get tested,” added Professor Cowie.

The Are you living with hepatitis B? Find Out. Get Tested campaign encourages people from diverse communities to get tested for hepatitis B and look after their liver health. Campaign messages are available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

“We are here to help our diverse communities take care of themselves and look after their liver health,” said Barbara Luisi, Director of Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub. “Our campaign gives quick access to culturally appropriate information so people can make informed decisions and take action.”

“We encourage community members to ask their doctor about hepatitis B and book a test. Hepatitis B testing is free if you have a Medicare card. If you don’t have a Medicare Card, most NSW Health Sexual Health Clinics can offer free testing. In Australia, all conversations with your doctor remain private,” added Ms Luisi.