World Hepatitis Day
Viral hepatitis affects millions of people all around the world, and every 30 seconds, someone dies from an illness related to hepatitis. This makes it a serious problem that needs to be addressed so that it can be prevented and treated. Of course, hepatitis isn’t only caused by a virus; it can also be caused by other things such as autoimmune diseases, drugs, or alcohol.
Fortunately, there’s a holiday that aims to raise the profile of hepatitis so that it can be properly addressed. This holiday is known as World Hepatitis Day—a day that’s observed annually on July 28th. It has been a holiday since 2010 and continues to be observed every year to bring attention to this disease so better prevention programs can be enacted and access to treatment can be increased by private and government health agencies.
The History of World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day was created in 2010 by the World Health Organization. This day was led by the World Hepatitis Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that has over 300 members spread across 100 countries. They work with governments and other key partners to raise awareness about hepatitis to help speed up the search for a cure.
The Facts About Hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by a viral infection, alcohol, drugs, or autoimmune diseases. Approximately 325 million people around the world have either chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Although Hepatitis A generally doesn’t cause chronic infection, viral hepatitis causes over a million deaths per year.
Viral hepatitis comes in five different forms: hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. All of these can cause liver disease, but hepatitis A, C, and B are the most common. Viral hepatitis can be transmitted through sexual contact, but it can also be spread in other ways. Hepatitis is usually transmitted through ingesting contaminated food or drinks, and hepatitis C is usually transmitted through contaminated blood during transfusions, contaminated medical equipment, or drug use.
Hepatitis has a variety of symptoms, and these symptoms can include fever, fatigue, joint pain, dark urine, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, and light-colored stools. Anyone who suspects that they might have hepatitis should have a blood test performed by their doctor.
People who are at risk of contracting hepatitis include international travelers, IV drug users, people who have unprotected sex, children born to mothers with HBV, those who live with someone who has chronic hepatitis, and workers who come into contact with bodily fluids, stool, or blood.
Observing World Hepatitis Day
This holiday can be observed first and foremost by spreading the word about it. This means telling everyone you know about this holiday. It also means using the hashtag #WorldHepatitisDay on your social media accounts to spread the word about it beyond your circle of friends and family. On this day, you can also take the time to make a donation to one of the hepatitis foundations that exist.