One wrong prick, and it’s in your blood. Know the disease. Know the risk. Get tested.

Eddie David of Borneo Ink Tattoo explains the daily risks he faces of being exposed to Hepatitis C virus as a tattoo artist.

Introduction

In Malaysia, there are at least 380,000 people who are infected with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and remain undiagnosed. This number grows every year.

What’s the danger of being infected by HCV and not knowing about it? Hepatitis C is a type of inflammation of liver that is caused by HCV. Approximately 75 – 85% of infected people will develop chronic infection, which can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

80% of people who are infected with Hepatitis C do not develop any symptoms, making early detection and timely treatment a challenge. In most cases, Hepatitis C patients are diagnosed when the infection has caused serious damage to the liver.

Early diagnosis through blood test can prevent health problems that may result from infection and prevent transmission of HCV. When treatment is necessary, the goal of Hepatitis C treatment is cure and it can achieve cure rates above 95%.

About the Campaign


Introducing How’s Your Blood?, a nationwide Hepatitis C awareness campaign by Hepatitis Free Malaysia (HFM) to educate the public, especially high-risk groups, about Hepatitis C and the importance of blood test for early detection and timely treatment.

Our goal is to encourage the public, especially high-risk groups, to get tested for Hepatitis C and help Hepatitis C patients to receive timely treatment. Ultimately, we want to create a Hepatitis C free nation. We can’t do this alone. To achieve this, we need everyone’s support.

If you are a Healthcare Professional and would like to help us find the missing thousands, click here.

Transmitting Hepatitis C Virus

Hepatitis C is a type of inflammation of liver that is caused by HCV.

Approximately 15%-25% of infected people will clear the virus from their bodies without treatment and will not develop long-lasting or chronic infection.

The remaining 75%-85% of infected people will develop chronic infection.

Chronic Hepatitis C can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

High-Risk Groups

Your risk is higher if you:

  • Received transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products such as red cells, platelets, plasma, etc. prior to 1994.
  • Have body piercings or tattoos using unsterilised equipment.
  • Inject or have injected drugs into your body through the sharing of needles.
  • Are on haemodialysis.

References

  1. Stanaway et al, The global burden of viral hepatitis from 1990 to 2013: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, Vol 388, 1081-88, Lancet, July 2016.
  2. Fatiha S, et al. Estimated 3-year acquisition cost of direct acting antiviral (DAA) for the treatment of Hepatitis C in Malaysia in 2018 to 2020. APASL 2018 Delhi.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis FAQs for the Public. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm. Last accessed 19 March 2018.
  4. World Health Organization (WHO). Hepatitis C. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/. Last accessed 19 March 2018.