World Hepatitis Day – why does it matter? Guest blog…

24 July

Guest blog from Robby Morgan at HarborPath

World Hepatitis Day is July 28, 2017 and now more than ever we need to spread to word about this epidemic and why it matters.

You might be asking yourself, what is Hepatitis? Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver tissue. Depending on the length of time that it lasts, it is either considered acute (temporary or less than 6 months) or chronic (long term or longer than 6 months). Some people have no symptoms, whereas others may have many symptoms, such as yellow discolouration of the skin and whites of the eyes, poor appetite, vomiting, and more. Chronic hepatitis overtime can progress to scarring of the liver, liver failure or even liver cancer.

There are five main types of viral hepatitis: type A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A and E are mainly spread by contaminated food and water. HBV is mainly sexually transmitted, but may also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth. Both HBV and HCV are commonly spread through infected blood, such as what may occur during needle sharing by intravenous drug users. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated that 325 million people were living worldwide with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

The majority of people living with hepatitis do not even know they are infected. HCV is most prevalent among baby boomers born from 1945 to 1965. Vaccines and medicines can prevent or cure hepatitis, but worldwide people lack access to testing and treatment, which puts millions at risk of chronic liver disease, cancer, or death. According to the WHO, in 2015 1.34 million people died because of viral hepatitis, this is a mortality rate comparable to tuberculosis and HIV.

This is where HarborPath comes in…

We are a non-profit organization that provides access to life-saving medications for uninsured, low income people living with chronic illnesses free of charge. Healthcare professionals can apply for multiple medications on behalf of their uninsured patients living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other complex chronic conditions through one single application. HarborPath’s contracted mail order pharmacy ships medications within 48 hours of program approval.

HarborPath is eliminating many barriers to care for the most vulnerable people. HarborPath has been working to grow the support in the HCV space recently. We have launched a pilot HCV Geno Type testing program in AL. Through a partnership with Quest Diagnostics HarborPath provide free testing for any patient that qualifies for our free good program. Once the free test is complete Our contract pharmacy will then ship out the HCV medication to the patient’s home. This program is right in line with the Goal of the WHO’s Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis, which is to test 90 percent of the at rich population by 2030. Our goal is to have this program available on a national level next year.

Earlier this year, we also launched two communities on HealthUnlocked to provide important help, support and information:

A community is for people affected by HIV/ AIDS

A community providing support for people affected by HCV

Join them today or let someone who would benefit from joining them know about these two very important and supportive communities.

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