Client Action Group host event to help raise awareness of hepatitis
Friday, July 28, 2017
Dublin Simon Community’s Client Action Group today (28 July) hosted an event to mark World Hepatitis Day. The advocacy group made up of people who have experienced homelessness or who are currently accessing Dublin Simon Community services, organised ‘Don’t Hide In The Dark’ to eliminate stigma and highlight need for treatment for viral Hepatitis.
The event, which is part of the advocacy group’s bi-annual ‘Speak Out’ sessions, is one of three Irish events in the international calendar to mark the day.
Ahead of the event, the Client Action Group urged people to seek treatment for the illness:
“Don’t hide in the dark, there are supports available you just need to put your hand up and we will walk with you.”
“There are vaccines for hepatitis A, B and E, and treatments for hepatitis A and B and a cure for hepatitis C. This means we could eliminate viral hepatitis, but we need to come together to make it happen.”
“Everyone has a right to live and have access to treatment including the homeless and vulnerable. More funding is needed if we want to eliminate viral hepatitis.”
Homelessness has a devastating effect on a person’s health, both physically and mentally and people who are homeless have health problems at rates three to six times greater than the housed population. In particular, one in three people who are homeless in Ireland are Hepatitis C positive. That compares to one in 10,000 in the general population.
Due to barriers to accessing the services they need, many experience physical health needs for a prolonged period or have conditions which are left untreated or undiagnosed. Such leads to a lower life expectancy, with the average age at death of a homeless person in Dublin at 42 years of age.
The event focused on supporting the campaign to eliminate hepatitis by openly communicating with clients and community members about hepatitis around four key area;
- Information about viral hepatitis
- Information on transmission & harm reduction
- Hepatitis C treatment options
- Supports available.
 2016 Irish study commissioned by the Hepatitis C Partnership
 HSE, DRHE and Trinity study, Mortality Amongst the Homeless, Dr Bernie O ‘Donoghue Hynes, Dublin Regional Homeless Executive Dr Jo-Hanna Ivers Prof Joe Barry, Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Institute of Population Health School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin