Statement from the Minister of Health and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on World Hepatitis Day 2022

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

July 28, 2022

Today, on World Hepatitis Day, people in Canada and around the world are raising awareness about viral hepatitis and embracing the theme “I can’t wait”, highlighting the need to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis and amplifying the voices of people affected most.

In Canada, the three most common hepatitis related viruses are A, B, and C. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are vaccine preventable, and hepatitis C is curable with highly effective treatment. Despite this, these infections remain a significant public health concern at home and abroad. It is estimated that every 24 hours, 26 people get hepatitis C in Canada.

What’s more, the stigma surrounding hepatitis can contribute to a reduction in quality of life, and difficulty accessing testing, treatment and care. Now more than ever, we must work together to address inequalities amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and end the systemic discrimination and stigma that prevent key populations from accessing sexual and reproductive health services and harm reduction services.

As outlined in the Pan-Canadian sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) Framework for Action and the Government of Canada’s Five-Year Action Plan on STBBI, we are working with and supporting community-based organizations, Indigenous partners, provinces and territories, researchers, and the health sector to reach our global goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health concern by 2030. Progress towards this target will support the broader goals of reducing the incidence of STBBI in Canada, improving access to testing, treatment, and ongoing care, and reducing stigma that create vulnerabilities to STBBI.

Through the HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund, the Government of Canada also invests $26.4 million annually in community-based projects to address HIV, hepatitis C, and other STBBI among key populations, such as people who use drugs, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people and migrants. Through the Harm Reduction Fund, another $7 million is invested annually to support projects across Canada that help reduce HIV and hepatitis C among people who share injection and inhalation drug-use equipment.

Additionally, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Hepatitis C Research Initiative, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, announced the Hepatitis C Research funding opportunity in February 2020 to build on existing investments in HIV, STBBI, and harm reduction. This funding opportunity supports an integrated approach to STBBI along the continuum of care, while remaining focused on areas of research that are distinct and impactful for reducing the health impacts of hepatitis C in Canada by 2030. Through the Team Grant, the CIHR also funds the HIV/AIDS Biomedical and Clinical Research team focused on reaching the undiagnosed and improving access to hepatitis C and other STBBI testing in priority populations.

The 2022 theme for World Hepatitis Day also highlights the importance of testing and treatment for those who really need it. Testing is critical to addressing the rates of hepatitis, as earlier diagnosis and treatment lead to better health outcomes. People may be at risk if they had a tattoo or piercing done with non-sterile equipment; shared personal care items or drug-use equipment; or were exposed to blood during sexual activity. Being tested is also an opportunity to learn more about how to reduce your risk and become connected to services and care – because Hepatitis Can’t Wait.

Together, our voices raise awareness about viral hepatitis in our communities while acting with compassion and inclusivity.

#WorldHepatitisDay

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.

Contacts

Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
[email protected]

Maja Staka
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
343-552-5568

IHT5

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