New Canadian Hepatitis C Survey reveals surprising knowledge gaps
(NC)—A recent survey conducted by the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) has found that confusion and a lack of information may be standing in the way of Canadians with hepatitis C being diagnosed and treated.
The survey found that general practitioners (GPs) admit to having limited understanding of the disease and more than half (57 per cent) are unaware that hepatitis C can be cured. In addition, 83 per cent agree that patients would benefit from more routine screening.
“Today's treatments can cure a majority of those with hepatitis C,” said Dr. Morris Sherman, Chairman of the CLF and a practicing liver specialist. “We're urging GPs to immediately begin recommending testing for patients born between 1945 and 1975, the demographic most likely to be infected with the disease.”
Canadians also underestimate the pervasiveness and seriousness of the disease. In fact, 55 per cent of Canadians believe that HIV/AIDS has about the same or higher prevalence than hepatitis C, which may indicate why more Canadians report being tested for HIV/AIDS (32 per cent) than hepatitis C (23 per cent). The reality is that over 300,000 Canadians are living with chronic hepatitis C, while an estimated 71,000 Canadians are living with HIV.
Ninety-six per cent of GPs believe that many people who have hepatitis C are not aware that they have it
Hepatitis C is a silent disease and symptoms often do not appear until the liver is severely damaged.
For more information, speak with your doctor or visit the CLF's website at www.liver.ca.
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Source: UNAIDS. http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/datatools/aidsinfo/. Accessed on January 4, 2013.
Attention editors: The Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) acknowledges Merck Canada for its support of the CLF’s campaign to raise awareness about hepatitis C as a serious liver disease and promote liver health in Canada.
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