Friday, March 2, 2018

Viral hepatitis: not just a silent killer but also a silencer

Viral hepatitis: not just a silent killer but also a silencer
BMC Blogs - 01 March 2018
Raquel Peck 
On Zero Discrimination Day (March 1st), the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) is encouraging the hepatitis community to challenge misconceptions and speak out about the devastating impact of stigma and discrimination across the globe.

Stigma and discrimination around viral hepatitis has long prevented people from speaking openly about their illnesses. For those brave enough to disclose their status, their reward, more often than not, may be social exclusion, diminished employment opportunities or unjust barriers to receiving healthcare. This harsh reality can have a devastating impact on an individual’s personal life and psychological well-being and prevent people from accessing much-needed diagnostics and treatment. There is no doubt that stigma and discrimination further perpetuate the epidemic of viral hepatitis.

We recently launched our Holding Governments Accountable: World Hepatitis Alliance Civil Society Survey Global Findings Report, which surveyed civil society organisations from 72 countries to better understand experiences of stigma and discrimination across the world. The findings confirmed and quantified what we had long suspected: stigma is felt in almost every corner of the globe (people from 93% of countries surveyed reported stigma and discrimination to some degree) and its impact is far-reaching (respondents reported on average 6 different types of stigma and discrimination).

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