A new campaign is being piloted in Leicester to encourage more awareness and testing for Hepatitis C in British South Asian communities.
Billboards have been placed along the city’s Melton Road, to encourage more people to be tested for Hepatitis C – a virus which has a higher prevalence within the South Asian community – 1.1 per cent vs the wider UK population of 0.2 per cent.
The city has been chosen to pilot the campaign, Hep C, Ki?, due to the high number proportion of British South Asians living in the city.
As part of the drive, a digital van was positioned at Leicester’s recent Belgrave Mela, and adverts have been featured on Sabras Radio, in an effort to raise awareness of the condition.
Hepatitus C is a virus that can infect the liver. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years.
According to the Hep C, Ki? campaign, approximately 50 per cent of people living with the virus do not know that they have it.
“You can become infected with it if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person, through things like dental or cosmetic procedures or blood transfusions,” said a spokesman for the cause.
“Equipment used by hairdressers or beauticians – such as nail scissors, clippers and razors – can also pose a small risk if not effectively sterilised between customers.
“In high risk areas, including South Asia, you can come into contact with infected blood more easily than you might think,” they added.
“If you or your family have ever lived in or regularly travelled to Pakistan , India or Bangladesh and had medical, dental or cosmetic treatment you may be at higher risk of Hepatitis C.
“If left untreated, hepatitis C may cause scarring to the liver, cancer and even death. Therefore, it’s important to access testing if you might be at risk.
“With modern treatments, it’s usually possible to cure the infection, and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy.”
If you are concerned you may have been exposed to the hepatitis C, you should speak to your GP to see if testing is currently available in your area.
To find out more, visit: https://hepc.co.uk/