Hep­ati­tis help

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Hun­dreds of peo­ple have been call­ing the Hep­ati­tis Foun­da­tion of New Zealand af­ter dis­cov­er­ing they may be at risk of hep­ati­tis B.

‘‘We’ve seen a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in peo­ple re­quest­ing a test for hep­ati­tis,’’ foun­da­tion hep­ati­tis B pro­gramme man­ager Su­san Hay says.

‘‘We are thrilled peo­ple are tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their health and tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to find out if they have the virus.’’

Ms Hay says there are also a large num­ber of peo­ple self-en­rolling in the Foun­da­tion’s national pro­gramme, as well as an in­crease in doc­tors re­fer­ring pa­tients with hep­ati­tis to the pro­gramme.

The in­crease comes af­ter hep­ati­tis B risk fac­tors were pro­moted through­out ar­eas of the North Is­land.

The foun­da­tion launched its Can you say yes cam­paign at the start of July, as part of a build-up to World Hep­ati­tis Day this Sun­day.

Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive John Hor­nell calls for ac­tion on hep­ati­tis B.

‘‘Too many lives are lost to this man­age­able dis­ease. If peo­ple are di­ag­nosed early and are reg­u­larly mon­i­tored, out­comes would be dif­fer­ent.

‘‘We urge any­one over 25 years who is of Maori, Pa­cific Is­land, or Asian eth­nic­ity to get tested,’’ Mr Hor­nell says.

Peo­ple should also get tested if they were born out­side New Zealand, their mother or close fam­ily mem­ber has hep­ati­tis B, or if they live with some­one with hep­ati­tis B.

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