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BC Transit Campaign to Raise Awareness about HCV Testing

Background

In honor of World Hepatitis Day (July 28th), HepCBC Hepatitis C Education and Prevention Society has launched a month long campaign in seven cities across British Columbia, including Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Surrey, Kelowna, Nanaimo, and Prince George.

The goal of this campaign is to increase awareness about hepatitis C testing in British Columbia.

An estimated 80,000 people in British Columbia are infected with hepatitis C. Of those infected, 75 per cent are baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1975). In addition, an estimated 44 per cent of those infected do not know they are infected.

Because hepatitis C can often have no symptoms for 20 to 30 years or longer, a person may not know they have the virus until serious damage has already occurred.  Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver and can cause cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver and other cancers, liver failure and the need for transplant. If hepatitis C is treated in time, these outcomes could be prevented.

Campaign design

HepCBC included five translated versions of the word ‘hepatitis’ in our ads to broaden the audience of viewers and attract those born outside of Canada. The ads also include statistics directly related to aging populations (baby boomers) and display diverse visible ethnicities and age groups.

Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood to blood contact, but many believe HCV is exclusively experienced by current Intravenous (IV) drug users. These ads intend to target populations who may not know that they are at risk, or may have been infected without knowing earlier in their lives.

Campaign plan

As part of the campaign roll-out, HepCBC will speak with each city’s Mayor and Councillors about hepatitis C, and request that World Hepatitis Day (July 28th) be officially proclaimed. 

HepCBC is also requesting that City Councillors and Mayors agree to be publicly tested for hepatitis C. So Far, MP Murray Rankin and 13 BC MLAs have already been publicly tested for hepatitis C. By getting publicly tested, municipal leaders will help promote testing for hepatitis C, increase general visibility, and decrease stigma that is so often associated with this virus.

For more information

To read about past public testing events, please visit:

Categories: Program updates

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