A LIVER charity is on a mission to find and treat people living with hepatitis C in Dorset. 

After advances in treatment, Liver4Life have partnered up with NHS Dorset Liver Team and the pan-Dorset Blood Borne Virus Nursing Team to take up the challenge of eradicating hepatitis C from the county.

Co-founder of Liver4Life and roadshow organiser Richard Hall said: “Until recently no one has been able to talk about a cure.

“Treatment two years ago was awful and had terrible side effects like chemotherapy, but there has been such a radical change.

“The idea is that in 20 years’ time there won’t be any hepatitis C here in the UK at all.” 

To achieve their goal, they are undertaking a Dorset-wide roadshow to find people living with hepatitis C who are not accessing new curative treatment.

Roadshow organiser and consultant nurse at the Dorset Liver Team, Hazel Allen, said: “We are keen to get the message out that with recent advances in medication and technology, it has never been easier to assess the liver and treat the hepatitis C virus.”

While on the road the team will provide up-to-date information, offer quick and simple liver scans to assess liver damage and get people on the path to treatment.

Mr Hall said: “It’s all about coming in, having a chat and letting the nurses take care of you. Most patients can take one tablet a day for 12 weeks. There’s no side effects and there’s a 95 per cent chance that your hepatitis will be cured.” 

The campaign kicked off on World Hepatitis Day on Friday, 28th July 2017 in Boscombe and will finish in Weymouth on Wednesday, August 23. 

Ms Allen, said as a result of the roadshow date in Boscombe, eight people were tested for hepatitis C, 29 people received liver scans and 20 people were placed on the waiting list for treatment with seven needing prompt treatment, due to moderate to advanced liver damage.

Mr Hall said an estimated 220,000 people in the UK are living with hepatitis C but only 50% of them had been diagnosed, meaning their health could be deteriorating and they may have passed on the virus unknowingly.

The most common way hepatitis C is transmitted is through injecting psychoactive drugs, such as heroin. Mr Hall said that previous users or even one-off users could be unknowingly living with the virus. 

He added that anyone who had received a blood transfusion before 1992 could also be at risk. 

If left untreated the virus can cause cirrhosis of the liver and even life-threatening conditions such as liver failure and liver cancer. 

The roadshow will be at Blandford Hospital, Milldown Road between 9am and 1pm on Monday, August 21 and Weymouth Community Hospital Outpatients Department, 3 Melcombe Avenue between 9am and 1pm on Wednesday, August 23. 

Anyone wanting a live scan should avoid eating or drinking anything for three hours beforehand.

For full roadshow dates and more information see www.liver4life.org.uk

t: 01305 830809
e: caroline.lewis@dorsetecho.co.uk
twitter: @DorsetEchoCaz