A FREE educational conference to increase awareness of hepatitis C will be held in Sleaford this month.
Dedicated specialists are working to increase awareness, diagnosis and treatment of the infection amongst at-risk groups with the conference on Wednesday, January 30, at the New Life Centre.
Karen Murray, Hepatitis C Nurse Specialist at Lincoln County Hospital and Tracey Lamming, Senior Health Protection Nurse for the East Midlands have organised the event for individuals and groups involved in the care of people who have hepatitis C infection.
Karen said: "As a result of current therapies, it is possible for many people to be cleared of hepatitis C infection. A partnership approach is especially important given that many people with, or at risk of, the virus are marginalised.
"This event promotes opportunities for reducing the incidence and health impact of hepatitis C by bringing together services and organisations who we think are already providing services to people living or at risk for hepatitis C."
The aim of the day is to increase awareness, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C infection amongst at risk groups. The Health Protection Agency estimates there could be 1,881 people living in Lincolnshire with the virus. In the UK, the HPA say there's 216,000 but less than half have been diagnosed.
The virus is spread through blood-to-blood contact and, in most cases, can be cured with antiviral drugs. Hepatitis C infection can go unnoticed for many years but during this time, and without treatment, can cause significant liver damage.
Key speakers from Lincoln County Hospital, Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, the University of Nottingham, the Health Protection Agency, The Hepatitis C Trust and the British Liver Trust will present the local and national picture of hepatitis C infection.