Friday, July 28, marks World Hepatitis Day 2023. This year’s theme is “We’re Not Waiting,” and emphasizes the millions of people living with viral hepatitis who can’t wait for lifesaving screening, vaccination, treatment and more.
“Every year, more than a million lives are lost to hepatitis,” according to WorldHepatitisDay.org. “We’re not waiting for change—we’re fighting to make it happen.”
This year’s World Hepatitis Day theme stresses the need for timely and consistent testing and treatment for people who need it. According to the website notes those who cannot delay action:
- People unaware that they are living with viral hepatitis can’t wait for testing.
- People living with hepatitis can’t wait for lifesaving treatments.
- Expectant mothers can’t wait for hepatitis screening and treatment.
- Newborn babies can’t wait for birth dose vaccination.
- People affected by hepatitis can’t wait to end stigma and discrimination.
- Community organizations can’t wait for greater investment.
- Decision makers can’t wait and must act now to make hepatitis elimination a reality through political will and funding.
Click here for information on World Hepatitis Day campaign guidelines and steps you can take to fight hepatitis, including sharing downloadable infographics and signing a pledge to demonstrate your commitment to eliminating hepatitis.
Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver. Five major types of the 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 WHA, 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% of Americans who have HIV also live with hep C.