This year’s World Hepatitis Day (WHD) held July 28 is not just another calendar date to remind us of greater prevention measures but a day that signals we are one step closer to the elimination of the viral disease.
At the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, 194 governments including Indonesia adopted WHO’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, which includes a goal of stamping out hepatitis B and C in the next 13 years. The community responded by launching “NOhep,” the first-ever global movement to eradicate viral hepatitis by 2030.
Another organization fighting the disease, the World Hepatitis Day Alliance, also has its own theme “Eliminate Hepatitis,” a simple call to action that everyone can get behind. Regardless of priorities, the theme can be easily adapted for local use; to achieve elimination, greater awareness, increased diagnosis and key interventions including universal vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction and treatment are all needed. Every activity that addresses viral hepatitis is a step towards eliminating it.
One initiative, #ShowYourFace is a personalized Polaroid photo campaign focusing on individual human faces to highlight that hepatitis is relevant to everyone, everywhere in the world and that helping to eliminate it is something we can all support. Together we can all put a human face to the elimination of viral hepatitis.
Individual human faces are accompanied by I AM statements, powerful personal messages that aim to make people feel empowered, personally connected and understand their role in elimination. I AM statements highlight the individual actions being taken to meet the 2030 goal or stress the emotions felt by those impacted by hepatitis to encourage others to take a stand.
Tattoos and Hepatitis Prevention
Thinking of getting a tattoo on your visit to Bali as legions of tourists do? Here are the facts before you get inked: Tiny needles puncture your skin when you’re getting a tattoo and this can cause bleeding. With each puncture, drops of pigment are inserted into the layers of skin. If infected blood remains on the tattoo needle or is in the pigment, the virus could be transferred to you during the tattoo process.
So before you sit back in a smoky Kuta tattoo shop, BIMC strongly suggests you take these four safety precautions to keep you from getting infected:
- Ask around closely and go online to find a reputable tattoo artist. You’re looking for someone who has a clean, sterile tattoo environment. Seek out tattoo studios that have a good reputation for healthy, clean work.
- Ask the artist to wear gloves. You may not be in a true medical environment, but your tattoo artist should treat your tattoo experience much like a doctor treats an examination. They should wear gloves and protective gear to prevent the spread of blood.
- Demand new equipment. Watch as your tattoo artist removes a new needle from a sealed, sterilized packet. If you don’t see them open the needle, ask for another one and explain why you’re asking. Also, request new, unused pigments and containers, too.
- Take steps to make sure you heal properly. Give your new tattoo up to two to three weeks to properly and fully heal before removing your bandages. Don’t pick at any scabs left by the tattoo process. Contact BIMC immediately if you develop signs of an infection, such as redness or pus drainage, or if your tattoo comes into contact with another person’s blood.
Health-e reporting with sources: World Hepatitis Day Org; WHO; Health Line