Tuesday, July 28, marks World Hepatitis Day 2020. This year’s theme is “Find the Missing Millions,” a reference to the 290 million people across the globe living with viral hepatitis but unaware of their status.
The event is spearheaded by the World Hepatitis Alliance, a patient-driven nonprofit spanning 94 countries. The 2020 awareness day promotes numerous ways to educate people about hepatitis and to advocate for hepatitis causes.
One option is to participate in a virtual relay by posting a short video message along with the hashtag #WHDrelay. WorldHepatitisDay.org offers tips on how to make a video, including a sample and other hashtags, as well as campaign materials, such as posters and Instagram images, you can download in numerous languages and formats.
You can also sign up to receive emails with ready-to-share social media posts, and you can sign your name to an open letter urging governments to end viral hepatitis by 2030. Four years ago, governments across the world committed to fighting hepatitis, but only a few are on the road to ending hepatitis C; efforts to battle hepatitis B are also lagging.
Finally, the World Hepatitis Alliance is also hosting a series of webinars. For example, the panel discussion “The Impact of COVID-19 on Harm Reduction Services and the Communities That Need Them” will take place Wednesday, July 29, at 9 a.m. ET. The next day’s webinar is “The Role of Community in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of Hepatitis B.” Previous webinars are posted and available for viewing.
Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver. Five major types of virus can cause hepatitis: A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B and C can be chronic, life-threatening illnesses, though hep C is treatable.
According to the World Hepatitis Alliance, hepatitis B and C cause about 1.4 million deaths each year. These two viruses are also responsible for two out of three liver cancer deaths.
In the United States, viral hepatitis is common among people living with HIV. For example, approximately 25 percent of Americans who have HIV also live with hep C.