Improving responses to viral hepatitis
Hepatitis Scotland is the national voluntary sector organisation, funded by the Scottish government and hosted within Scottish Drugs Forum, supports and leads the work of voluntary sector groups in partnership with statutory agencies and patients towards:
- reducing the spread of viral hepatitis
- increasing the numbers of people diagnosed with viral hepatitis
- improving access to hepatitis treatment and support
- improving the range and quality of prevention, treatment and care services
- reducing stigma associated with viral hepatitis.
Chronic viral hepatitis – hepatitis B and C –causes inflammation of the liver and can lead to serious illness and death if left untreated.
It is estimated that around 39,000 people across Scotland are chronically affected by hepatitis C – with just under half not yet aware of their infection– while hepatitis B affects approximately 9000 people.
Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination however currently there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. An estimated 90 percent of people in Scotland with the hepatitis C virus acquired it through injecting drug use.
Hepatitis Scotland’s key work focuses on:
- information-sharing with professionals and people affected by viral hepatitis
- training/capacity building and networking: fostering links with a range of services including those working in drugs and sexual health and with vulnerable young people
- patient involvement and representation – exploring the views of those affected by viral hepatitis.
For more information on viral hepatitis and the work of Hepatitis Scotland, see www.hepatitisscotland.org.uk