Niagara Health is hosting two events to raise awareness for hepatitis as part of World Hepatitis Day, which takes place annually on July 28:
- Friday, July 22 at Montebello Park in St. Catharines (64 Ontario St.) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Thursday, July 28 at St. Andrews United Church in Niagara Falls (5645 Morrison St.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The events will include education about the services offered by Niagara Health’s Hepatitis C Care clinic, other resources for hepatitis C, liver health and addiction and mental health services in the region, private testing and more. The event at Montebello Park will also feature a community health and social services fair, with a wide variety of community partners and programs represented.
“The rate of those with hepatitis C in Niagara is higher than the provincial average,” says Brenda Yeandle, Manager of Clinical Services in Addiction Services and Mental Health at Niagara Health. “Our team has continued to provide testing services throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. If you feel you may have been exposed, it’s extremely important to get tested and not take a chance in knowing your hepatitis C status.”
Hepatitis C is spread when blood carrying the virus gets into the bloodstream of another person. The virus attacks the liver and if left untreated can result in the development of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
Registered nurses from the clinic, as well as registered nurses from Niagara Region Public Health’s Outreach Services program, will offer private hepatitis C testing at the events. The Screen For Life Coach and Niagara Region’s Mobile Dental Services will also be at the events.
“Many Canadians are infected with hepatitis C but are unaware and remain undiagnosed,” says Karen Usick, a registered nurse and community co-ordinator for the Hepatitis C Care clinic. “The testing process is simple and new treatment medications are highly effective.”
The Hepatitis C Care clinic opened in 2011 and provides testing, treatment, case management, counselling and support, and education and workshops. This is the first time since 2019 that Niagara Health has hosted the event in-person due to COVID-19, and is the first year hosting two events to raise awareness for hepatitis. Event organizers are working closely with our infection prevent and control (IPAC) team to help keep our community safe.