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HEP Commemorates World Hepatitis Day in Seattle

On Saturday, July 28th the Hepatitis Education Project joined communities around the globe to commemorate the 5th annual World Hepatitis Day.  In honor of the day, HEP hosted an event in Seattle's Hing Hay Park, where we setup an information booth, performed educational outreach and offered free hepatitis C antibody testing to members of our community.

In addition to outreach and hepatitis C screening, a group of hepatitis advocates and volunteers gathered at 12:00pm to participate in a Guinness World Record attempt.  This was an international effort organized by the World Hepatitis Alliance to set the record for “the most people performing the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ actions in 24 hours at multiple venues around the world”.

The “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” actions relate to the proverb of the three wise monkeys covering their eyes, ears and mouth. This proverb is often used to refer to those who deal with problems by refusing to acknowledge them. This theme was chosen to highlight that, around the world, hepatitis is being ignored.

Thanks to coordination from the World Hepatitis Alliance, HEP was able to partner with communities around the world to participate in this record-setting event, resulting in thousands of people coming together on July 28th to raise awareness about hepatitis and to break the silence that surrounds it.

Thanks to all who participated here in Seattle and around the world; we’re already looking forward to next year's World Hepatitis Day!

World Hepatitis Day 2012 takes place in the International District

HEP staff come out for the event: Michael, Chris, Steve, Bryn, Chelsie & Rich

Event coordinator Rich prepares for the event.

Visitors stop by the booth to learn more about hepatitis.

HEP staff, Bryn, distributes entrance tickets for photo participants

HEP volunteer, Chelsie, greets photo participants

Hepatitis Across the World

With the recent World Hepatitis Day festivities, we have been thinking about how other countries experience HCV.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 130-170 million people have chronic HCV, and that there are more than 350,000 hepatitis C related deaths each year.  Unsafe medical practices and contaminated injection equipment combined with the high cost of treatment contribute to high prevalence rates in countries all over the world.  Egypt has the highest rate of HCV with nearly 1 in 4 citizens infected.  To read more about Hepatitis C on a global scale and how other countries are affected, read Lucinda K. Porters, RN’s article “Hepatitis C: One World; Many Faces” in the HCV Advocate’s July 2012 newsletter.

HEP's Youth Prevention Program

HEP’s Youth Prevention Program focuses on educating young adults in the Seattle area about liver health and the risks of transmitting hepatitis.  The curriculum used to teach hepatitis prevention has been developed to engage the youth – using a combination of interactive games, videos, and hands-on activities.  Students are asked to examine the issues and social pressures that can push young people towards activities that put them at risk; our hope is that they use their critical thinking skills to better understand that their actions today will affect them in the future.  The program’s ultimate goals are to prevent new cases of hepatitis, to raise awareness, and to reduce the stigma surrounding this illness. 

The Youth Prevention Program takes place in a variety of settings, including local youth shelters, high schools, and care centers.  Our health educators are guest speakers for health classes at West Seattle High School, Roosevelt High School, Cleveland High School, and Ingraham High School.  In addition, HEP teaches monthly classes at King County Juvenile Detention, and partners with various youth-based organizations, including YouthCare, Friends of Youth, Goodwill Development Association, and James W. Ray Orion Center.

This year, our organization launched one of the country’s first youth-focused hepatitis awareness blogs, “VOICE: It’s Time to Speak Up”, providing teens and young adults an online forum where they can learn more about hepatitis B and C as they pertain to young people. The “ask anything” option allows youth to ask sensitive questions anonymously. 

If you are interested in having the Hepatitis Education Project conduct viral hepatitis education at a youth facility where you work, please call 206-732-0311 or e-mail Bryn at bhannon@hepeducation.org.

Milk Thistle Does Not Help Hepatitis C, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (July 17, 2012) - Silymarin or "milk thistle," a popular herbal dietary supplement that many people take for liver ailments, works no better than placebo in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection.

That's the conclusion of a multicenter clinical trial published in the July 18, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Gilead’s Single Pill Hepatitis C Study Targets 2014 Approval

Bloomberg (July 27, 2012) - Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) said it plans to start a combination study of two drugs in a single pill to treat hepatitis C by the end of the year, putting it on track to request U.S. regulatory approval for the medicine in 2014.

Gilead, which spent $10.8 billion to acquire one of the medicines, GS-7977, plans to combine it with another, GS-5855, in a trial of 800 patients starting in the fourth-quarter, said Norbert Bischofberger, chief medical officer of the Foster City, California-based company, in a conference call yesterday. If the combination is effective, the company could apply for regulatory approval in the middle of 2014, Bischofberger said.


Hepatitis C Treatment Updates -- August 2012

This is an incredibly exciting time in drug development for hepatitis C. With the approval of telaprevir and boceprevir last year, we have seen cure rates for hepatitis C almost double to about 75% for most genotype 1 patients. Over the course of the next several years, beginning as early as late 2013, we will see numerous new drugs approved that will inch us closer to cure rates approaching 100%.  Interferon-free regimens may be as close as two to three years away.

In an effort to keep you apprised of the latest hepatitis C drugs in development, you can click here to view "Hepatitis C Treatments in Current Clinical Development" from Alan Franciscus at the HCV Advocate. Alan is a long-time advocate and runs one of the best resources for hepatitis to be found in any medium, the aforementioned hcvadvocate.org.