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.