A campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C testing and treatment is being run by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in the run up to World Hepatitis Day (28th July).
The Road to Elimination is a virtual challenge that has been devised to get people involved and help ‘take a step to eliminate Hep C in Wales’.
The virtual challenge has mapped out the distance across Hep C treatment hospitals across Wales, which is 325 miles, and asks people to take a step and log their miles on social media to help raise awareness that the virus can be treated and cured thanks to new medications available.
It is estimated that there are over 12,000 people affected by Hepatitis C in Wales and this figure could be higher with people not always knowing they carry the virus which can develop into liver failure if not treated.
Kerry Rockey, Specialist Nurse for Blood Bourne Viruses at the Health Board said; “Treatment for Hepatitis C used to be quite difficult but medicines have changed and carriers can now be cured following a three month treatment of medication which can result in remission from the virus within six months.
“Advancements in treatment for Hepatitis C now mean that we have a cure for those who are infected with the virus. The medication is now in tablet form, there are minimal side effects, shorter courses between eight to twelve weeks and high rates of eradication, with a 97% success rate of curing patients.
“We need to identify and reach out to those people that are not aware they have the virus so we can get them the treatment they need to enable them to live a healthy life. Our virtual campaign aims to reach out to those at risk groups and make them consider having a test which only takes two minutes.
“We have cured patients who have lived with Hep C for over 20 years with this treatment and we want everyone to know that you can Get Tested and Get Cured.”
The Health Board is asking anyone who undertakes exercise, whether it’s walking, running or cycling to log their miles and post on twitter to @CV_UHB or Facebook at cardiffandvaleuhb with the line ‘I’ve taken a step to eliminate Hep C’ and use #GetTestedGetCured
It is hoped that the virtual challenge will exceed the 325 miles set and reach out to some groups who had not thought about testing to come forward for peace of mind.
If you would like to donate to Cardiff & Vale Health Charity and make a difference to Hep C services and patient care text HEPC18 £5 to 70070.