28 July 2020

World Hepatitis Day falls today [28 July] with this year's theme as 'Find the Missing Millions'. In the UK, an estimated 215,000 people have Hepatitis C, 90% of the cases in England are from people who are or have injected drugs. For many, they do not know they are infected.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which can cause severe damage to the liver. Hepatitis C often does not have any noticeable symptoms until the liver is significantly damaged, causing cirrhosis, cancers and is life-threatening.

Early detection and treatment can stop these things from happening; this is why regular testing for those most at risk is so important. Right now the race is on to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2025. This is where CNWL Addictions comes in.

CNWL Addictions provides free and confidential testing for Hepatitis C for people who use substances across London and Milton Keynes. With 49% of people who inject drugs, infected; testing is offered to all our service users along with a broader package of harm reduction education and drug treatment.

The service has worked hard over the years to develop pathways to facilitate rapid access to Hepatitis C treatment within our services. This reduces the need for service users to go to a hospital, allowing treatment within a familiar and supportive environment, which we know leads to better treatment outcomes.  This work is supported by our committed Peer Support workers, providing lived experience, reducing stigma and anxiety, often barriers to treatment access.

The treatment has improved significantly in recent years, usually consists of a course of tablets over 8 to 12 weeks, with at least a 90% success rate, making even more accessible.

For more details go to the 'Hep C U Later' campaign https://www.hepculater.com/