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South Asian community: get advice on hep C at the Birmingham Mela

Staff from The Hepatitis C Trust will be attending the Birmingham Mela to offer advice and testing for hepatitis C.

The Trust is working with Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands, the British Liver Trust and local NHS services to raise awareness of hepatitis B & C amongst black and ethnic minorities in the region.

The aim is to provide information, help people get diagnosed and onto treatment and try to remove any stigma associated with hepatitis.

Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “Viral hepatitis is common in many parts of the world and we know from research we did with Queen Mary University of London and the former Health Protection Agency that it is much more prevalent in people born in South Asia than in the UK born population. Awareness and testing at events like the Birmingham Mela are therefore critical if we are to protect this group from the cirrhosis and liver cancer that hepatitis B and C can cause.”

Birmingham Mela Box

The most common risk factors for viral hepatitis are mother-to-child transmission, unsterile medical or dental treatments, piercings or tattoos done abroad, unprotected sex, injecting drugs with shared needles, along with sharing personal items such as razors or toothbrushes.

Soili Larkin, public health registrar at PHE West Midlands, said: “The Eid Mela is a large celebratory event in Birmingham, so many people from the city and surrounding area will be attending, making it a perfect opportunity to try to get some important health messages across about hepatitis."

The Trust, PHE West Midlands and other partner organisations will have a stall at the Eid Mela in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park from 1pm to 7pm, offering information, advice and mouth swab testing for hepatitis C.

Leaflets on hepatitis will be available in a variety of languages including English, Urdu and Arabic, while health professionals will be on hand to speak to festival goers. Follow-up treatment will be arranged for anyone found to test positive for hepatitis C.