Hepatitis Queensland, the state’s peak hepatitis information and prevention organisation, will highlight World Hepatitis Day 2015 in Townsville tomorrow.
Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald will join Hepatitis Queensland CEO Clint Ferndale in addressing the event.
“My own nephew suffers from this debilitating and misunderstood condition.
“And sadly there is still a great stigma attached to hepatitis – a stigma that is principally due to incorrect perceptions about transmission and treatment,” Senator Macdonald said.
2014 saw nearly 1,000 deaths from hepatitis B and C, and without a substantial increase in prevention, testing, liver check-ups and treatment rates, many more Australian lives will be lost to serious liver disease.
“Discrimination and mis-information is preventing people living with chronic hepatitis B and C from accessing vital health services, and from participating normally in their communities.
“It is critical that we improve general knowledge about hepatitis and break down the misconceptions if we are going to prevent increasing caseloads, and help people with hepatitis to maintain their quality of life.
Data from Hepatitis Queensland indicates that in Queensland, 68,000 people have been exposed to hepatitis C and 37,000 live with hepatitis B.
“Sadly only a very small portion of these people are being properly monitored or treated,” he said.
Senator Macdonald added that he is pleased to see that government has been working closely with the pharmaceutical industry to develop affordable treatments.
“One day soon we may even have a cure but developing treatments is always expensive and while there have been some encouraging steps in recent times it is important that we maintain momentum,” he said.
The World Hepatitis Day 2015 event will take place from 12noon-1.30pm on Tuesday 4th August at Rydges Southbank, Townsville.