Digital & Direct: DoH embarks on hepatitis C drive

The Department of Health (DoH) has launched a nationwide direct response campaign to raise awareness of hepatitis C, urging at-risk groups to visit their GP for a test.

The national and regional press and radio campaign, created by VCCP, is aimed at the estimated 100,000 people in England who are unaware they have the infection.

The work is intended to remind consumers of life experiences that could have exposed them to infection, such as injecting drugs or having a tattoo done using equipment that may not have been sterile.

The campaign, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the virus being identified, will urge consumers to call a dedicated number or visit a website. These channels will offer more information on how the infection can be contracted, and if there is a possibility they may have been infected, they will be encouraged to contact their GP for a test.

Examples of people's life experiences with hepatitis C will be profiled in film clips on the NHS website. An online risk-assessment test is also available for those who may have come into contact with the virus.

The awareness campaign supports the DoH's Hepatitis C Action Plan for England, which identified that although 200,000 people in England are infected, only 38,000 diagnoses have been reported. The action plan is also linked to the government's 10-year strategy for addressing drug misuse.

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