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August - September 2007


Health

New music CD gets South Asian audiences ‘tuned in’ to hepatitis C

Music and a real-life story are being used to improve the levels of awareness of hepatitis C among the South Asian community.

The ‘My Story’ CD has been created by the Department of Health’s FaCe It hepatitis C awareness campaign and features music from some of the world’s hottest Asian artists, including Kamaal Khan, Hadiqa Kiani and Adnan Sami. The tracks surround a frank interview by top TV health presenter Yasmin Qureshi with Shabana Begum, a Pakistani woman who recounts her experience with hepatitis C, a virus which affects the live. The CD also features advice from healthcare professionals about transmission routes and available treatment.

Although hepatitis C can affect anyone from any background, there is emerging evidence that the prevalence within the South Asian community in this country may be higher than in the general population.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus, so people visiting South Asia could be at risk by getting medical and dental treatment, sharing ear and nose piercing equipment, or even razors which may not have been sterilised.

Shabana was diagoned with hepatitis C in 2004, although she suspects she contracted it through medical treatment in Pakistan in the late 80’s. She lived with the virus for nearly 20 years before it wa detected, as symptoms can take a long time to develop. Shabana underwent a six-month course of treatment with antiviral drugs and was found to be successfully clear of infection in 2005. She believes this CD is vital to raise awareness of the virus.

“The more that myself and other people in the South Asian community do toraise awareness, the more we can make a difference. I have taken this mantle on myself because I’ve personally been throuh hepatitis C and I’ve come out the other end clear of the virus. I know what it feels like to experience the symptoms, the treatment and the stigma behind it. I want to help other people and save a lot of lives.”

Department of Health’s hepatitis C awareness campaign FaCe It aims to raise awareness of the virus and its prevention, diagnosis and reatment, while tackling the stigma, which is often attacked to it. It is estiated that around 200,00 people in England have hepatitis C and of this number, the majority are probably unaware of their condition since many experience no symptoms for a number of years. If undetected, hepatitis C cn develop into cirrhosis or even liver cancer, and in a small proportion of cases, can be fatal.

Hepatitis C information Line on 0800 451 451 (textphone 0800 0850859)

For more information contact Leigh Morrison or Sam Morley on 020 7815 3900 or email leigh.morrison@munroforster.com or Sam.morley@munroforster.com

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