Hepatitis: Think Again
As part of World Hepatitis Day NHS Southwark CCG is encouraging people to Think Again about viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis kills as many people as HIV/AIDS - 1.5 million people worldwide each year. In Southwark it is estimated that 2,694 people are chronically infected. However, viral hepatitis is preventable and treatable.
Viral C hepatitis is most commonly contracted through the re-use of needles for injections, vaccinations and other blood-related medical procedures such as transfusions.
Only around one in four people will have symptoms during the first six months of an infection. If the virus is untreated, in some cases it persists inside the body for many years. This is known as chronic hepatitis. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of chronic hepatitis C include: feeling tired all the time; headaches; problems with short-term memory, concentration and completing relatively complex mental tasks; and pain in the liver area.
See your GP if you persistently have any of the chronic symptoms above, or if they keep returning, especially if you inject drugs or have injected drugs in the past. None of the symptoms above automatically means you have hepatitis C, but they do require further investigation.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, Southwark GP said: "It's important to know the risks of hepatitis C because the symptoms often go unnoticed. If you think you may have come into contact with the virus ask your GP for a test."
There is more information about hepatitis on the NHS choices website www.nhs.uk/conditions/Hepatitis/.