Health groups are raising awareness of virus in Portsmouth

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HEALTH groups are raising awareness of the link between Hepatitis C and liver problems.

Hepatitis C Trust, a charity which supports people living with the virus, has arranged for people to have a blood spot test at a mobile bus outside Debenhams, in Commercial Road between 10am and 4pm tomorrow.

The condition predominantly affects the cells of the liver and if it is left untreated it can lead to more serious health problems such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The charity is urging people to get tested because early diagnosis can help to clear the virus. The initiative is being backed by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth City Council, the British Liver Trust and The Safer Portsmouth Partnership. David Gladders, Hepatitis C Support Group Chair, said: ‘Testing positive is not the end of the world – it means that you can get treatment more quickly.

‘There’s a lot of help and support for those with Hepatitis C in Portsmouth. It is estimated that 250,000 people in the UK have it, but only 70,000 have been diagnosed and even fewer are being treated.’

Charles Gore, chief executive of the Hepatitis C Trust and president of the World Hepatitis Alliance said: ‘Even though Hepatitis C is preventable and curable, people keep on dying in increasing numbers for a very simple reason: they find out too late.

‘So raising awareness through events like this is critically important.’