LONDON, May 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- World Hepatitis Day: At the first health reception of the new Parliament, celebrities such as Sadie Frost and Matt Horne will unite with patients, politicians and musicians from around the world to ask people to GET TESTED! for World Hepatitis Day. The exclusive reception, hosted by Lord Parkinson, will launch an international music album called This Day showcasing original collaborations and tracks from David McAlmont, Skye (of Morcheeba), Siobhan Donaghy, Bernard Butler, Melanie Laurent and other leading global music artists.
The album highlights the tragically low levels of awareness of hepatitis B and C which affect 1 in 12 of the global population (fifteen times as many as HIV/AIDS) and which kill one person every 30 seconds. It sends a powerful message of global unity. Industry veterans Alan McGree and David Enthoven will also attend the event.
The event comes as the World Health Organisation debates a resolution on viral hepatitis for the very first time, a development which could give it the profile it merits alongside HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria. This is a first step towards concerted global action to tackle these deadly viruses that affect 500 million people worldwide.
In the UK alone between 250,000 and 500,000 people are living with hepatitis C but only around 100,000 have been diagnosed.
This parliamentary reception comes at the mid-point of a national hepatitis C testing week, organised by The Hepatitis C Trust, with buses visiting cities throughout the UK offering the brand new OraQuick(R) hepatitis C on-the-spot saliva test, the first hepatitis C test with a CE Mark to be able to give a result in just 20 minutes. This is part of a massive new drive by the charity to improve access to testing and increase diagnosis and the reception will also see the launch of a national project to offer hepatitis B and C tests in pharmacies and a GP awareness project that will be powered by volunteers, most of whom are hepatitis C patients themselves.
Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust and President of the World Hepatitis Alliance, said: If we diagnose people, we can treat them and cure their liver disease. If we don't, thousands of them in the UK will die. It's that simple. Speaking about hepatitis globally, he added: I am thrilled that celebrities and musicians are supporting the efforts of patient groups across the world. Millions of lives can be saved simply through better awareness. World Hepatitis Day is the chance to shout the GET TESTED! message on a global scale. If we shout loud enough, the World Health Organization, which is right now considering the first ever resolution on viral hepatitis, will be forced to listen and to act.
Actress and designer Sadie Frost is a long-time supporter of The Hepatitis C Trust as a result of the tragic loss of her father to hepatitis C. Sadie Frost said, My father died of hepatitis C so this is a deeply important cause for me. I am here to make people aware of the risks and get tested. It could have saved my father's life and it will certainly save millions of others.
Oliver Sim, lead singer of the XX, said, People we love have been tragically affected by hepatitis C - we ask our fans to show their support on World Hepatitis Day and get the message out there. Ollie will be announcing the day and encouraging fans to GET TESTED! at a gig in Tokyo on the day.
Notes to editors:
1. Please contact Jane Allen at The Hepatitis C Trust (on 07779-595609, 020-7089-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details, including interviews with case studies, doctors, trustees, artists from This Day or the celebrity spokespeople.
2. Journalists and photographers are welcome at the reception (19 May, 4-6pm, Strangers' Dining Room, Palace of Westminster) but must request an invitation in advance. Please contact Jane Allen on Jane.Allen@hepctrust.org.uk
3. About World Hepatitis Day
The third annual World Hepatitis Day will take place on Wednesday 19 May 2010, as part of an ongoing campaign launched by the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008. An entirely patient-led initiative, World Hepatitis Day in 2010 aims to raise awareness of hepatitis B and C, as well as extend the political support for the disease to levels seen in HIV / AIDS, TB and malaria. The long-term objective of the World Hepatitis Day Campaign is to prevent new infections and to deliver real improvements in health outcomes for people living with viral hepatitis. http://worldhepatitisday.org
4. About the National Testing Bus Tour
During the week of May 17th, The Hepatitis C Trust is organising 3 potentially life-saving bus tours across England and Scotland. Local celebrities, town mayors and MPs will be turning out to support the buses and set the example for their town by raising awareness or getting tested. The schedule is:
Manchester, Piccadilly Gardens, 17 May Blackpool, Coral Island, Bank Hey St, 18 May Bedford, Main Square, 18 May Newcastle, Grey's Monument loc TBC, 19 May Frimley, Surrey, 19 May Bridlington, King Street, 20 May Sheffield, middle of Fargate, 21 May London, Portobello Road, 21 May Inverbness, 17 May Perth, 18 May Dundee, 18 May Edinburgh, 19 May Glasgow, 20 May Stirling, 21 May Alloa, 21 May
5. About hepatitis B and C:
- Hepatitis B and C are infectious blood borne, cancer-causing viruses that mainly attack the liver. If undiagnosed and left untreated, they can be fatal. - 500 million people worldwide (1 in 12) are currently infected with hepatitis B or C. Most of the 500 million infected do not know. - This is 15 times the number infected with HIV/AIDS. - Between them, hepatitis B and C kill 1 million people a year. - It is estimated that there are 250,000-466,000 people living with Hepatitis C in the UK, but only around 100,000 have been diagnosed. Around 320,000 people are living with hepatitis B in the UK. More details about hepatitis C can be found at http://www.hepctrust.org.uk
6. Risk factors for hepatitis C:
- Blood transfusions before 1992 - Sharing any equipment to inject or snort drugs - Sharing razors or toothbrushes with an infected person - Tattoos or piercings in un-registered premises - Having medical surgery, dental surgery or blood transfusions in high-prevalence countries
Hepatitis B shares the same risk factors as above and is also sexually transmitted.
7. About The Hepatitis C Trust:
The Hepatitis C Trust is the national UK charity for hepatitis C. It provides information, support and representation for all those affected by this disease. Started by patients, the majority of its governing Board of Trustees and its staff, paid and voluntary, are patients.
The Hepatitis C Trust's helpline is 0845-223-4424
SOURCE: The Hepatitis C Trust
CONTACT: Jane Allen, 020-7089-6220, email@example.com