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Scot’s with hepatitis C urged to try new treatments to #BeHepCFree

A new digital media campaign has been launched in Scotland to mark World Hepatitis Day which aims to raise awareness of new hepatitis C treatments.

Although overshadowed in recent times by a different type of viral pandemic, hepatitis C is still a very significant, and sometimes life-threatening, viral illness for many thousands of Scots. 

As with many vital treatment services, the COVID-19 lockdown has severely disrupted access to hepatitis treatment while also putting off course the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of eliminating hepatitis C by 2024. 

For World Hepatitis Day on July 28th, Hepatitis Scotland has therefore launched a national digital campaign - #BeHepCFree - that aims to re-engage in care those who haven’t accessed specialist treatment and encourage others who may have been at risk to come forward.

The campaign highlights the recent transformation of hepatitis C treatment, signalled by a wave of new, tablet-only, extremely effective medicines with minimal side effects. 

Until the last few years, people’s hepatitis C treatment experience included weekly injections for a year with side effects that mimic the symptoms of the flu; and at the end of the year there was less than a 1 in 2 chance of being cured! Many people with the illness didn’t complete, or didn’t even start, treatment. Some of those who had been at risk of the infection didn’t even get tested because they didn’t want to face treatment. This has all changed with the new treatments now on offer to anyone with hepatitis C in Scotland. 

It is an incredible opportunity to improve the treatment experience and outcomes of thousands and also improve the health of Scotland’s communities. 

Using recorded interviews with people who were successfully treated in two animated video short films, the #BeHepCFree campaign will target Facebook and Youtube audiences. 

People affected by hepatitis C very much agree the treatments are an incredible change. Comments on the animations include: “It was easy, very easy, one of the best things I’ve done”, ”Nae hassle, nae side effects”, “I started the treatment and I felt better” and ”After a week or two it was absolutely brilliant, I couldn’t fault it”.

Leon Wylie, Lead Officer of Hepatitis Scotland, said:

“COVID has interrupted Scotland’s progression towards eliminating hepatitis C as a public health issue by 2024. Services are only now starting to come back online and therefore it has become even more important for those affected by chronic hepatitis C to come forward for treatment. The new drugs are transformative, meaning that it is now incredibly easy to be treated and cured. We believe it is vital that people come forward to access testing and care.” 

Videos

How easy are the new treatments? - https://youtu.be/B5KN1PJmGvs 

What are the effects of the new treatments? - https://youtu.be/2dmiBwj0MSw

Social media posts

This campaign is a partnership in Scotland between:

Hepatitis ScotlandWaverley CareAddactionPositive HelpThe Hepatitis C Trust

Our NHS partners are:

In partnership with NHS GrampianIn partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and ClydeIn partnership with NHS LanarkshireIn partnership with NHS LothianIn partnership with NHS Forth ValleyIn partnership with NHS FifeIn partnership with MCN

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Or call NHS Inform’s Hepatitis helpline:
0800 22 44 88 (Open: 8am-10pm)