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Hepatitis

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of undiagnosed cases of hepatitis C; and if he will make a statement; (255000)

(2) what plans he has to increase public awareness of the modes of transmission of hepatitis C; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is continuing to run a hepatitis C awareness campaign for health care professionals and the public that uses a range of channels of communication such as press, radio and ambient advertising, leaflets and guidance, a campaign website, and a confidential and free telephone line to provides information about modes of transmission.

The campaign aims to encourage those at risk of infection to seek testing and to assist health care professionals in identifying patients who may be at risk so that they can be referred for specialist care.

In addition, the Department and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) launched a joint harm reduction campaign last year for injecting drug users and those working with them that includes information about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C. The campaign supports implementation of the joint departmental and NTA action plan on reducing drug-related harm. A copy of the plan has been placed in the Library.