Thursday, April 25, 2013

Survey Highlights High Levels of Discrimination Experienced by People with Hepatitis C

 Survey Highlights High Levels of Discrimination Experienced by People with Hepatitis C

A new survey by has found that almost two thirds of people living with hepatitis C have experienced discrimination and stigma in their daily lives due to their condition. The survey, carried out by online community, also uncovered low awareness levels of the virus, with four out of ten respondents admitting that they had never heard of hepatitis C until their diagnosis.

While 87% of those taking part in the survey shared their diagnosis with family and friends, over 70% said that people they told had little understanding of how the virus is transmitted.

One respondent commented: “Education and open discussion is needed within the media, much as there has been with mental illness and depression.”

Almost eight out of 10 respondents feel there is not enough help or support for people living with hepatitis C.

Often referred to as a silent disease, as in many cases it does not result in any symptoms, hepatitis C is most commonly transmitted through contact with an infected person’s blood. The hepatitis C virus can cause serious liver damage and, if left untreated, can result in scarring of the liver, cancer or even death. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 150 million people worldwide are living with the virus.

Dr Matthew Foxton, consultant hepatologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and King’s College Hospital says: “While it is encouraging that there is an increased openness about hepatitis C, there are still many misconceptions as to how it is transmitted. Greater awareness and understanding about hepatitis C will not only reduce the stigma experienced by so many people but also reduce the risk of transmission.”

The survey was carried out on, an online community and news resource for people living with hepatitis C. The site features tips on living well with hepatitis C, details of resources and support groups worldwide, expert advice and regular updates on hepatitis C and liver disease.

For further information, visit

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