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Two Thousand People Could Have Disease


06/08/15


Around 2500 people in Lanarkshire could be unaware they have a disease that is perfectly treatable.

That’s the message from Lanarkshire’s Blood Borne Virus (BBV) team – who can help with a simple test that will detect the presence of hepatitis.

It is a condition found in the blood that carriers can be oblivious to as it can have no obvious symptoms, but if undetected can lead to severe liver damage including liver failure.

However, if caught early, a very high percentage of people who are carriers can be completely cured.


NHS Lanarkshire are supporting the ‘Ever injected? Get Tested’ campaign which is targeting those deemed most at risk.

This includes people who are currently injecting drugs or have a history of injecting drugs and people who are or have injected steroids or other body image or performance-enhancing drugs, including tanning products.

The campaign is also targeting those who received a blood transfusion or blood products prior to 1991, who have not already been tested for hepatitis C.


Trish Tougher, NHS Lanarkshire BBV networks manager said: “There’s a lot of stigma around hepatitis, but it’s a very treatable disease.

“The sooner someone finds out they have the condition, the better the chance we have of eradicating it completely.

“It’s important that those who think they may have been at risk in the past, get in touch as people can be carrying it long before symptoms have developed.

“It has never been easier to get tested, get treated and get the support that is needed.”

In Scotland, it is believed there are 37,500 people living with chronic hepatitis, and around 2500 in Lanarkshire.


But Health Protection Scotland estimate that around 18,000 nationally may be unaware that have the illness.

Dr John Logan is NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health medicine, and he added: “We can only give the best possible care if we know someone has the virus.

“Therefore it’s vitally important people who have been at risk at any time in their life, get tested.

“It’s also really easy to get tested, just a fingerprick, and we now have access to a range of treatments that can cure nearly everyone who has the virus.”


For further information about the condition and to look at a video about hepatitis and HIV, go online to NHS Lanarkshire’s website.