Recent studies reveal that over 70,000 individuals in the UK could be living with the potentially life-threatening hepatitis C virus without any knowledge of their condition. The virus, if left untreated, can lead to severe liver damage, cancer, and ultimately death. The good news is that hepatitis C is a curable disease if detected early, and health professionals are urging the public to get tested.
A survey conducted by Preventx found that two-thirds of British citizens lack knowledge about how the virus is transmitted, its symptoms, and available treatments. To address this alarming gap in awareness, experts from the healthcare company and charity the Hepatitis C Trust are encouraging more individuals to get screened for the disease using NHS England’s convenient at-home testing service.
According to Dr. John White from Preventx, the limited awareness surrounding hepatitis C and its risk factors makes testing even more crucial. With various ways of contracting the virus, including through tattoos and toothbrushes, testing remains the only reliable method to confirm one’s hepatitis C status. The aim is to identify the hidden cases of hepatitis C, estimated to affect 70,000 people in England alone.
An estimated 70,649 Brits were already diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2022, as reported by the UK Health Security Agency. This virus is known to gradually infect the liver and cause severe damage over time. However, the illness does not present noticeable symptoms until the liver has suffered significant harm, which means that many individuals may be infected unknowingly.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?
The symptoms of hepatitis C can include flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and fever, constant fatigue, loss of appetite, stomachache, and nausea, as stated by the NHS. It is important to note that these symptoms may vary from person to person, and the only way to confirm whether they are caused by hepatitis C is through proper testing.